AFT Resolution

COLOMBIA LABOR VIOLATIONS AND IMPUNITY

WHEREAS, Colombia is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and is compelled to adhere to the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which grants freedom to join unions, bargain collectively and take action; and

WHEREAS, the United States and Colombia signed a Labor Action Plan (LAP) in 2011 to ensure compliance with labor protections in Chapter 17 of the Colombia–United States Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA); and

WHEREAS, the Colombian government has failed to meaningfully implement the LAP, according to a complaint filed by the AFL-CIO and five Colombian labor organizations identifying violations of Chapter 17 of the TPA; and

WHEREAS, workers in Colombia attempting to exercise labor rights have continued to suffer persecution and threats to personal safety, including 99 assassinations, six kidnappings, and 955 death threats since the TPA came into force (1,466 total threats or acts of violence), which in many cases the government has failed to investigate or prosecute, resulting in an 87 percent impunity rate for murders and a 99.8 percent impunity rate for death threats against unionists; and

WHEREAS, the government of Colombia has failed to adequately punish illegal employer practices, such as the unlawful use of intermediation that obscures direct employment relationships and retaliation based on union affiliation, and failed to address complaints of labor rights violations against employers:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will express its solidarity with the labor movement of Colombia, and will stand with Colombian workers exercising their rights to associate freely, bargain collectively, be employed directly without the illegal use of subcontracting and intermediary organizations, and bring complaints against employers without fear of retaliation or inaction with impunity; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with all parties, including the U.S. government, Colombian labor organizations, and the AFL-CIO to promote labor practices that comply with Chapter 17 of the TPA and international standards; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will be diligent in pressing the U.S. government and the ILO to take enforcement action, and that we will inform and engage AFT membership as events move forward; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will lobby the U.S. government to suspend benefits of the TPA until compliance with Chapter 17 is demonstrated and the LAP is meaningfully implemented; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will advocate that the ILO use all enforcement tools available to pressure the government of Colombia to uphold the relevant provisions of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will fully engage in advocacy campaigns with our partners in Education International, Public Services International, AFL-CIO and with the labor community as they seek to uphold the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, fulfill the promises of the TPA and LAP, and adhere to internationally recognized labor standards.

(2017)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.