The following resolution, submitted by Plumbers and Fitters Local 393 was passed unanimously last night by the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. Please move it in your organization and get it to the national AFL-CIO as rapidly as possible.
We Stand in Solidarity with Besieged Colombian Trade Unionists and We Shall Not Be Moved
WHEREAS, with $1.6 billion in aid to "Plan Colombia,˛ supposedly to fight drugs, our government is now involved financially and militarily in a 38- year-old conflict that has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people and, according to the CUT (largest Colombian labor federation,) since 1985 over 3800 trade unionists have been killed and in 2001 there were 169 assassinations of union workers, 30 attempted assassinations, 79 unionists were "disappeared" and over 400 reported threats and intimidations; and
WHEREAS, Colombia's unions are the nation's leading advocates against transnational corporate (TNC) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) domination, the Free Trade Area of the Americas FTAA and for peace, human rights and economic justice, facts which make trade unionists targets for assassination, torture and dismemberment by the rightwing paramilitary AUC (Colombian United Selfdefense) often acting in league with TNCs and official government forces and with almost absolute impunity from prosecution or court action according to reports of the U.N Commission on Human Rights, the Organization of American States Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Department of State; and
WHEREAS, at present in Colombia there are 500 U.S. military "advisers˛ andin 2002 U.S. aid to Plan Colombia amounts to $1.5 million per day, most to the military whose personnel and resources are supportive of and sometimes interchangeable with the paramilitaries who terrorize unionists, human rights activists, journalists, and campesino and indigenous groups and, as of 2/7/02, Pres. Bush is asking for $98 million more for a new initiative to "protect˛ an oil company pipeline although this will openly escalate the so-calledwar on drugs into a counterinsurgency intervention, not unlike the steps which led to the Vietnam War; and
WHEREAS, the terror used against workers in Colombia coincides with a government/corporate union busting campaign to break organized labor's unanimous resistance to IMF demands for "structural adjustment,˛ amounting to privatization of public services and industries, cutting the 8 hour day and overtime pay, undercutting the minimum wage, the system of benefits for low income workers and protections against unjust firings and wholesale reductions in public employment and benefits; and
WHEREAS, the lethal violence against unionists and the impunity of the paramilitary perpetrators denies Colombian workers the right to freely associate, organize and function in unions in violation of internationally recognized standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this body calls upon Congress to deny new funds to the Bush administration for the Colombian military and calls upon Congress and President Bush to stop present funding until the military ceases all ties to the AUC in actual practice at every command level and until clear progress is made in bringing to justice the paramilitary perpetrators of the thousands of heinous crimes against the people and the trade union movement and until Colombians freely enjoy the internationally recognizedworkers rights spelled out by the ILO and their condition satisfies an ILO Commission of Inquiry; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the AFL-CIO to join us in these demands upon Congress and the President as energetically as possible and to use its publications and correspondence to all unions and labor councils to generate a groundswell of action that will inform officials from Washington, D.C to Bogota, Colombia that American workers stand in absolute solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Colombia and we shall not be moved; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge the AFL-CIO continue its praiseworthy initiative in offering relief and sanctuary in this country to Colombian trade unionists under imminent threat by paramilitary death squads and to expand that fine work to endorse and call upon all affiliates to support public demonstrations of solidarity with the workers and people of Colombia - such as the April 19-22, 2002 days of teach-ins, lobbying, vigils and marches in Washington, DC and the July 22, 2002 demonstration at Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta, GA in support of the human rights lawsuit against Coca Cola brought by the United Steel Workers of America in conjunction with the besieged Colombian unionists who work for that giant transnational corporation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that this resolution be submitted to the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council for adoption and be forwarded to all local unions, district councils and other organizations affiliated with the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council forward this resolution to John Sweeney, General President of the AFL-CIO for adoption and support as provided in this resolution.
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