5 Easy Pieces To Stop the Colombia FTA

President Bush has said he will send the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement FTA) to Capitol Hill and demand a vote before he leaves office next January.

Despite objections by the Democratic congressional leadership, the administration may formally send the agreement to Congress as early as next week when Congress returns from its Easter recess on March 31. Under Fast Track trade authority rules, the House of Representatives would likely face an up-or-down vote on the Colombia deal before the end of July. Here are five easy pieces to stop it.

1. The AFL-CIO has launched an email campaign opposing the Colombia FTA. To participate, click here. Enter your information and it will send an email to your Congressperson.

CtW_colombia_ad

2. Download a cool poster. Change to Win is also mobilizing its members to oppose the Colombia FTA. They’ve done a very nice ad which would go great on a union or school bulletin board. You can download a full sized version here. But it on a bulletin board at work, school, or laundromat.

3. Contact your Congressperson during their Spring break. Check the schedule for town hall or community events.

4. Plan a Stop Colombia FTA letter writing blitz at your next union meeting, church peace and social justice meeting, or political club.

5. Write a letter to the editor.

Need more information,? You can find background on the Colombia FTA in earlier Talking Union posts here and here . Also, check out this AFL-CIO Now Blog entry which covers the issues nicely and this press release from Change to Win.

But this, in the words of the AFL-CIO, is the essential reason to oppose the deal.

Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a union member-39 trade unionists were murdered in 2007, and another eleven to date in 2008. Of the more than 2,500 murders of trade unionists since 1986, only about 80 cases-around 3 percent-have resulted in convictions.

But beyond the violence and the impunity, Colombian unionists face equally daunting daily legal challenges to their rights to organize and bargain collectively-challenges that threaten the very existence of the Colombian labor movement. Mass firings and privatization of large segments of the public sector have put bargaining rights out of reach for most workers. This is the worst collective bargaining coverage in the western hemisphere – even worse than the dismal record of the United States.

One Response

  1. Another excellent source: The American Friends Service Committee has just released a report on the close connections between trade and war in Colombia called Violent Intersections. It is available at http://www.tradeandwar.org/documents/violent-intersections.pdf

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