Thursday, January 16, 2014

Another Colombian union leader murdered. Demand his killers be brought to justice!

Teamsters protest Colombian trade deal.
Colombian union leader Luis Marin Rolong Ever was murdered in cold blood by unknown gunmen on January 4. They fired six times at Brother Luis, a regional leader of the brewery workers union. He was waiting for a bus in the town of Soledad. The next day the union president, Gamboa Rafael Maldonado, received death threats from paramilitaries.

The beer company that employs the two men is a subsidiary of SABMiller, a Teamster employer.

Since 1986, 12,000 murders and threats against union members have been carried out in Colombia. The government of President Juan Manuel Santos has admitted it. A tiny percentage of the killers have been brought to justice.

Our brothers and sisters at the IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association) are circulating a petition to demand Luis Ever's killers be brought to justice. You can sign it here.

Colombia continues to be the most dangerous country in the world to be a union member. A trade deal with the United States -- the Colombia FTA -- was supposed to lessen the violence. It didn't. 

Supporters of the trade deal came up with something called the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan (LAP) in April 2011 to make it okay to vote for the deal.

Ostensibly the LAP would correct violations of labor rights (like murder and violence) once the trade pact was implemented on May 15, 2012. It didn't happen. Working conditions for most people in Colombia are worse than they were before the trade deal. (No surprise there.)

Luis death is a tragic reminder of what can happen when governments enact trade deals to enrich corporations while providing no say or protections for workers – especially in a country like Colombia.
Sign the petition here to demand his killers be brought to justice.