Leader of ASOTRECOL, Association of Injured and Ex-workers of General Motors Colombia
Executive Director, Latin America Working Group Education Fund
Thursday, September 13, 2012
12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Washington Office on Latin America
1666 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 400
To RSVP, please click here.
The event will be available via live stream at www.wola.org.
For more information, please contact Adam Schaffer at email@example.com or (202) 797-2171
In recent years, over 100 workers have been unjustly fired from Colmotores, a Colombian subsidiary of General Motors (GM), for injuries that they sustained on the job. In protest, the fired workers formed ASOTRECOL (Asociación de Trabajadores y Extrabajadores Enfermos de General Motors Colmotores) and on August 1, 2011, set up camp outside the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, to call attention to their situation. However, after a year of protests yielded no response from GM, several of the workers decided to resort to more drastic measures by sewing their mouths shut and commencing a hunger strike on August 1, 2012. The fired workers’ demands are simple: to be rehired, as is required under Colombian law, and to receive compensation for wages lost.
Pressured by U.S. and Colombian organizations, GM agreed on August 16 to negotiate with the workers. However, after several days of negotiation, it became clear that GM refused to meet the workers’ modest demands of rehiring and compensation for wages lost. After breaking off talks with Colmotores, ASOTRECOL leader Jorge Parra—who, along with other fired workers, has resumed his hunger strike—traveled to the United States to share his story and raise awareness of GM’s shameful labor practices in Colombia.
During this event, Mr. Parra will speak about his experience with ASOTRECOL, and experts on Colombian human rights will help place the GM case in the context of Colombia’s precarious labor situation. After the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in May, violence against labor leaders and activists has continued to plague Colombia; the country leads the world in attacks on trade unionists, and it has yet to live up to the roadmap for change outlined in the two countries’ Labor Action Plan.