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Support the right of Jorge Parra

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RESOLUTION

Support the right of Jorge Parra, President of the injured Colombian GM workers’ association (ASOTRECOL), to travel to the USA to tell their story, by demanding the immediate reinstatement of his visa.

Whereas:

1.     General Motors engages in unfair and unlawful labor practices in

countries around the world – in Brazil, India, Colombia and

elsewhere, routinely firing workers who suffer disabling injuries

on the job and thereby maximizing its profits at the expense of

workers;

2.     GM’s flagrant abuses abroad undermine U.S. autoworkers’ ability to

prevent these practices here domestically, on the threat of losing

their jobs to foreign competition;

3.   In Colombia, 68 fired injured GM workers formed an association

(ASOTRECOL) and, after exhausting all established channels for

redress, erected a protest encampment at the U.S. Embassy in

Bogota;

4.   These workers under the leadership of the Association’s President,

Jorge Parra, took their protest to the U.S. Embassy out of a belief

that the Obama administration would require the Colombian

government to enforce the labor rights guaranteed in the

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) “Labor Action Plan”;

5.     Nearly six years later a handful of these workers continue their

encampment and have inspired, by the power of their example, a

growing wave of resistance by other injured workers at their former

factory, and from other industries across their country;

6.   They and allies in the USA have exposed the failure of the

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement to protect the rights of

Colombian workers, even those employed by a company headquartered

on U.S. soil which was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, and was then

under U.S. government control;

7.   They, by their dramatic non-violent actions, including hunger

strikes (with lips sewn shut), have brought worldwide attention to

their fight and thereby inspired a solidarity network to sustain

them;

8.     The U.S. Embassy under Ambassador Kevin Whitaker has interfered

with this growing cross border solidarity by dissuading official

U.S. delegations from visiting the injured workers in their

encampment, and by standing behind the brutal 2014 beating of three

of the injured workers by Embassy employees in response to a

non-violent protest;

9.     The Consulate Office of the Embassy abruptly, arbitrarily and

without justification cancelled Jorge Parra’s visa on the eve of

his planned 6-state tour May 31- June 19, 2017, violating all

protocols and due process by delivering the unsealed form letter to

a third party;

10.   On several previous occasions Jorge Parra with the same visa

traveled to the USA to report on, and win recognition of,

ASOTRECOL’s struggle without incident or interference;

11.   This action deliberately blocks U.S. workers from hearing about the

consequences of so-called “Free Trade” agreements on the workers in

the “partner” nations - at a time when NAFTA and other agreements

are being called into question and are subject to renegotiation;

And

12. The attempt to censor this heroic workers’ struggle is unacceptable

as it is aimed at breaking the growing solidarity between the

Colombian GM workers and the U.S. workers’ movement, to the

detriment of both;

Be it resolved that we will:

1.     Send notice to U.S. Ambassador Kevin Whitaker demanding the

immediate reinstatement of Jorge Parra’s visa;

2.   Send notice of our demand to U.S. Congressional representatives

responsible for monitoring the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia

Free Trade Agreement “Labor Action Plan,” calling on their direct

intervention;

3.   Call on the Ambassador and U.S. Congressional representatives to do

everything in their power to broker a just settlement between GM/GM

Colmotores and ASOTRECOL;

4.     Send financial aid to ASOTRECOL to help sustain them in their

struggle;

And

5.     Send communications to affiliated labor unions/solidarity

organizations to join our efforts, broaden educational outreach

and, if necessary, initiate nonviolent solidarity actions to win

the reinstatement of Jorge Parra’s visa, and assist ASOTRECOL in

winning justice.