For immediate release
March 12, 2008
Noreen Nielsen, Change to Win
Eric Sharfstein, UNITE HERE
Ad Targeting Congressional Members Running In Roll Call Today
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Change to Win released a print ad today demanding the United States Congress reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement deal that the Bush administration is threatening to send to Congress in the coming weeks despite strong opposition.
“American workers are sick of job-destroying trade deals that benefit multinational corporations,” said Bruce Raynor, General President of UNITE HERE. “A trade deal with Colombia is particularly outrageous because workers seeking to form unions there face brutal oppression and even murder. We are proud to stand with human rights activists, religious groups, unions and workers in Colombia in opposing the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”
Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world for union members. More than 2,200 workers have been murdered by Colombian death squads for trying to form unions since the 1980s, and there have been more than 400 murders since President Uribe took office five years ago. Yet the Colombian government has done nothing to effectively stop death squads from murdering workers for trying to form unions.
Trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, and others have primarily benefited multinational corporations and the world’s elite, at the expense of jobs and decent wages for working families, not only in America, but throughout the world. The proposed “free” trade deals perpetuate a discredited trade model that hurts U.S. workers, destroys jobs, and lowers living standards for workers here and in many trade partner countries where independent labor unions are restricted or outlawed.
“American workers are outraged by the very idea of an agreement with Colombia,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “It’s beyond the pale that the Bush administration would even start to negotiate with Colombia. For decades that government has attacked and murdered trade unionists.”
“Workers need trade policies that create jobs. They don’t need more deals that destroy jobs. Voters across the country are making this point increasingly clear every time they go to the polls. America is hemorrhaging jobs because of so-called free trade agreements. They must be stopped,” continued Hoffa.
** Note: Media representatives interested in scheduling an interview to discuss Change to Win’s position on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement should contact Noreen Nielsen at [email protected]. A full-size copy of the print ad in PDF format is available for download. **
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About Change to Win
Change to Win is a six million member partnership of seven unions founded in 2005 to represent workers in the industries and occupations of the 21st century economy. Change to Win committed to restoring the American Dream for a new generation of workers – wages that can support a family, affordable health care, a secure retirement, and the opportunity for the future. The seven affiliated unions are: Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers’ International Union of North America, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and United Farm Workers of America.