This is an open letter to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis from union member and Witness for Peace board member John Walsh. It comes after President Obama and Colombian President Santos announced this weekend that the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement will be implemented next month, despite serious concerns over labor rights and violence against workers in Colombia. Secretary Solis said Colombia had made “remarkable progress” on labor rights issues.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis:
As a human being, as a union member who has
A small number of already wealthy people will benefit from the free trade agreement, while a large number of working class Colombians – and North Americans – will suffer the loss of their livelihoods, their homes, and perhaps their lives. In the case of Guatemala, killings abated while CAFTA was under consideration, but then soared after it was in place. We have reason to fear the same in Colombia.
I implore you to do your utmost to safeguard the lives of working class Colombians – not only to stop the killings, but to seek justice in the workplaces, not mere words on paper. President Obama’s administration needs to find a moral compass, and to refuse to countenance the murder of our sisters and brothers.
John Walsh Teamster Portland, OR