USW Writes to Congress Opposing Free Trade Agreements

Justice For Colombia News | on: Saturday, 25 June 2011

The US steelworkers have written to all members of the House of Representatives to urge them to ‘vigorously oppose’ pending free trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia.

The letter argues that free trade agreements have been far from beneficial for US workers, and furthermore, the proposed agreement with Colombia jeopardises US ‘moral leadership’ in the field of the promotion of human and workers rights. The USW notes that 6 million US manufacturing jobs and 55 thousand manufacturing plants have been lost in the last decade alone and that signing a deal with Colombia sacrifices the lives and rights of the Colombian people on the altar of free trade.

The letter notes that whilst it is true that trade can lead to change, it can also serve to entrench the status quo, and that in Colombia the status quo means the targeted assassination of trade unionists, making it the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a labour organiser. Therefore Colombia ought not to be rewarded by a trade deal until it has established a proven track record in ending violence and impunity for the killings of trade unionists.

By signing the free trade agreement the US would be giving away the one tool it has to help effect change in Colombia.

To read the full text of the letter click on the document above right.

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