5. IN SUPPORT OF PROTECTING TRADE UNIONISTS

lclaaLCLAA 17TH NATIONAL MEMBERSHIP CONVENTION
ORLANDO, FL
AUGUST 4-8, 2008


RESOLUTION:

5. IN SUPPORT OF PROTECTING TRADE UNIONISTS
AND OPOSSING THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES AND COLOMBIA


WHEREAS: LCLAA is composed by Latino/a workers of the multicultural American Nation and it supports the premise that any the Free Trade Agreement US-Colombia must increase the living standards of workers in America and Colombia and that the right to union representation must be a democratic right for workers in both countries;

WHEREAS: the North American Free Trade Agreement-NAFTA primarily benefits multinational corporations at the expense of democratic principles and economic justice for working families, family farmers, and domestic producers around the globe, and the environment and public health;

WHEREAS: Important discussions are currently taking place in the U.S Congress to bring up Free Trade Agreements-FTA with Colombia.  Also, this agreement was and will be part of the national debate between presidential candidates. These agreements, open the door for subsequent harmful trade policies, that resemble NAFTA/CAFTA - trade deals that have led to the loss more than a million of good jobs at home and it included close to 50,000 in NYC, a surge in undocumented immigration, a soaring trade deficit, declining real wages, and a deterioration of labor standards.

WHEREAS: Colombia is currently (May 2008) the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists.  That according to the Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS); a highly regarded labor institute based in Medellin, Colombia, 2,574 union officers and rank-and-file members have been brutally and systematically murdered since 1991. Most of these trade unionists were murdered because they were exercising their basic labor rights, such as bargaining collectively or organizing a strike, from 2002, 500 trade unionists were killed.

WHEREAS: the reduction of the rights and benefits of workers are to the point that gains of the last century are disappearing; and the work day was extended from 6am to 6pm to 10pm and only a tiny percentage of workers reach the legal requirement to obtain their pension. In this way, the new labor laws make privatizations easier by creating enormous and vast profits for national and foreign corporations.

WHEREAS: the three National Unions in Colombia stated (CUT, CGT, and CTC) also the confederation of pensioners (CPC): despite differences of opinions, all four of these major confederations are unanimous in their opposition to the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

WHEREAS: Undoubtedly in regards to Colombia, no labor chapter in the Free Trade Agreement, no matter how well crafted, will be sufficient to reduce, much less end, the incidence of the most extreme violations of the right to free association and collective bargaining.

WHEREAS: the Colombian government maintains anti-labor policies in the public sector and refuses to recognize the right to collective negotiation of more than half a million public employees in clear violation of the Colombian Constitution, Colombia labor laws and International Labor Organization agreements.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that LCLAA at a national level promote support for our Colombian brothers and sisters call upon Congressional representatives to oppose any Free Trade Agreement between the US with Colombia; and that LCLAA promote a fair immigration reform given the fact that the massive migration to the U.S. is directly related to free trade agreements; and for a call to end the raids and deportations; and toward these goals do the following:

1.    That LCLAA will urge it's affiliates to support lobbying efforts and campaigns  in collaboration with Colombian trade unions, and Colombian organizations in U.S. to stop this new NAFTA (FTA U.S. - Colombia.

2.    Participate in local, national and international  wide campaigns demanding that the Colombian government provide protection for trade union members and their leadership from threats and deadly attacks; and

3.    To develop a solidarity campaign and establish ties with the Colombian anti-FTA labor movement, so as to provide support and political pressure to defend their human and labor rights.

4.    To call upon our congressional delegations in every city of our country to Vote NO to the FTA with Colombia,

5.    And that LCLAA adopts this resolution based on the premise that it is crucial to:  

Promote the pro-Colombian movement in the U.S. and in Colombia the political peace process in order to build real and strong democracy there.

Demand that the Colombian government respect the labor movement's economic and political vision and desires as a basic social right.

Respectfully submitted by: 

New York City LCLAA Chapter
Albany/Capital District Chapter
Westchester County LCLAA Chapter                                                                                

REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE: CIVIL and HUMAN RIGHTS

CONCURRENCE: _______________________________________

NON-CONCURRENCE:___________________________________