Contract Now for Lecturers’ Employee Organization!

Join the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO), the union of non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Michigan, at the U-M Regents’ meeting on Thursday, February 21, to support LEO in bargaining with U-M!

Time: 3:00 PM, Thursday, February 21
Place: Anderson Room, Michigan Union, 530 S State St, Ann Arbor

Join us in delivering our Contract Now poster to the regents! Join the event on Facebook

For more information on LEO and their current campaign, please refer to their website. LEO and Washtenaw Community Action Team members and supporters took part in a flash mob at the Fishbowl on Central Campus at noon on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Donning bright yellow LEO t-shirts, they sang and danced to an adaptation of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” As their revised lyrics indicated, LEO seeks “respect for [their] teaching” via a contract that gives them equal pay for equal work, good benefits, and job security.

Salsa for Justice! A Fundraiser for the Striking Workers of GM Colombia


UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who attended Saturday’s fundraiser! Special thank you to dancer Angeline Burrell who provided free salsa lessons. We raised $668 for the families of the injured GM workers who’ve been camped out since Aug. 2011 demanding health care, compensation, and job rehiring.

Join Washtenaw Community Action Team and friends for…

Salsa for Justice! A Fundraiser for the Striking Workers of GM Colombia
Time: 7 PM, Saturday February 16, 2013
Place: Hathaway’s Hideaway, 310 South Ashley Street (near Liberty St), Ann Arbor
Price: $5 suggested donation at the door

Come and party with us to express solidarity with the workers and their families who have led a tent encampment outside the U.S. embassy in Bogota for over a year and a half to demand justice. Jorge Parra, injured GM worker was on hunger strike for 72 days, from Nov. 20th 2012 to January 31st 2013, demanding negotiations. As the president of ASOTRECOL, the association of injured and ex-workers of GM, Jorge wants to meet with GM to work out a settlement as soon as possible. GM has refused to meet them.

Música y Baile: Una recaudación de fondos por los huelgistas de GM Colombia

Lugar: Hideaway’s Hathaway, 310 South Ashley Street (cerca de Liberty St), Ann Arbor
Hora: 7pm, sábado 16 de febrero 2013

¡Demuestre su amor verdadero!
Vengan a festejar con nosotros para expresar su solidaridad con los ex-trabajadores de Colmotores (filial de General Motors en Bogotá, Colombia) y sus familias. Desde Agosto del 2011, los trabajadores y sus familias llevan un campamento exigiendo justicia enfrente la embajada estadounidense en Colombia. Jorge Parra, presidente de ASOTRECOL, la Asociación de Trabajadores y Extrabajadores Enfermos de General Motors Colmotores, está en Detroit exigiendo una reunión con GM para elaborar un acuerdo tan pronto como sea posible. GM se ha negado a reunirse con él.

Fighting Back against Austerity in Michigan, Part 1: “Right to Work” (for less) and Other Scams

Fighting Back against Austerity in Michigan, Part 1: “Right to Work”
(for less) and Other Scams
Time and Date: 7 PM, Thursday February 7
Place: 1427 Mason Hall, University of Michigan campus, 419 S. State
St. Ann Arbor

Join local activists from the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, the Student Union of Michigan, and others to learn about “right to work” in Michigan and what local organizations– and you– can do to fight it. This is the first in a series of public events discussing the effects of austerity programs (deep social spending cuts, anti-labor laws, anti-democratic laws, and anti-women laws) on Michigan.

(Photo: Jamee Urrea, via Twitter: )

The nearest public parking is the Maynard Street public lot on Maynard, between E. Liberty and E. William. There is also limited street parking on State Street. Enter Mason Hall via the Diag entrance (closest to the Graduate Library)– see .

Facebook event

Sponsored By: Graduate Employees’ Organization, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Lecturers’ Employee Organization, Student Union of Michigan, Washtenaw Community Action Team

Event flyer

Auto Show Protests in Solidarity with GM Hunger Strikers

Stand alongside injured worker Jorge Parra, on hunger strike since Nov. 20th, 2012, demanding negotiations with GM Detroit. Medical Compensation, Job-Rehiring and Union Recognition Now!

Auto Worker Protests: Sun. 1/13 and Mon. 1/14, 1:30-3pm
GM Hunger Strike Press Conference: 1/14, 3pm
Location: North American 2013 Auto Show, across street from Cobo Center, Detroit


Jorge Parra’s statement on reaching the 44th day of his hunger strike, 1/2/13:

Protest GM at the Detroit Auto Show in January

Help us expose the crimes of General Motors against workers in Colombia. From JANUARY 14th THROUGH 27th people who care about democracy and human rights will be protesting GM at the annual International Auto Show in Detroit through a series of actions designed to call attention to GM’s wrongful firing of over 200 workers who suffered injuries and illnesses while working in GM’s Colombia plant. One of the workers, Jorge Parra, has been on hunger strike in Detroit since November 20th and may or may not survive past mid-January. Please join us to make sure the world knows the truth about what GM has done, and to pressure GM into fully compensating and rehiring the workers in Colombia.

Stay tuned to the Facebook event for information on specific actions.

Fore info on the campaign see

Rally at Michigan’s Capitol Against “Right to Work” and Snyder’s Threats to Democracy

The Washtenaw Community Action Team calls on its supporters to join us in Lansing on Tuesday, December 11 for rallies against Governor Snyder’s latest attempt at union-busting– “right to work” legislation.
There will be numerous rallies going on, but one organized by the Working Michigan coalition will be starting at the Lansing Center (333 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, Michigan 48933) at 8 AM on Tuesday (see Facebook event).

Parking and logistical information from U-M GEO.

Join WCAT in protesting not only “right to work for less” bills, but also new right-wing legislation that gravely attacks women’s rights in Michigan. According to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the legislation introduced will:

“Regulate women’s health centers out of existence;
Limit abortion access for women in rural areas;
Prevent private insurance companies from covering any abortion services;
Give a tax credit for fetuses, but not children;
Allow providers to deny any health care service they deem objectionable.”

Showing once again how democracy does not fit into Governor Snyder’s idea of running Michigan like a business, the state Capitol was locked down for several hours on Thursday to block protestors from making their voices heard. (This lockdown was later ruled unconstitutional.)

For more on “right to work” in Michigan and the events of Thursday 12/6/12, see these articles:
What ‘Right to Work’ Would Mean for Michigan” (PDF), by Roland Zullo, University of Michigan Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations
Mother Jones: “Michigan’s Own Scott Walker-Style Showdown Is Coming”, by Andy Kroll, 12/7/12
Detroit Free Press: “Protesters allowed back in to state Capitol after being locked out for hours“, 12/6/12
American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan: Capitol Lockout: An Open Letter to Governor Snyder From Our Executive Director, 12/7/12
Labor Notes: Right to Work Looms in Michigan, by Alix Gould-Werth, 12/7/12

Week of Actions in Solidarity with GM Hunger Strikers

This week is an important week for the ASOTRECOL/GM hunger strikers. Below are several ways in which you can participate. For more about the ASOTRECOL/GM Hunger Strikers, see WCAT’s posts on ASOTRECOL

Monday, Tuesday Dec 3 -4: Social Media Blitz: Tell GM to Negotiate NOW!
Post on GM’s Facebook and Twitter. Call GM. Post solidarity pics at .

Wednesday, Dec 5th: Protest at GM headquarters in Detroit, starting at Hart Plaza at 4 PM
For more info contact melvinthompson322 at

Thursday Dec 6: Candle-light vigil for worker’s families at GM VP’s residence, 5 PM
For carpooling info, contact Kevin at kyoung1984 at

Friday Dec 7: Fundraiser for hunger strikers’ families that lack food, shelter, & medical care
Donate at . Write “Colombia relief” on message subject line. Or write a check to Wellspring UCC with “Colombia relief” on memo line, to Wellspring UCC, Box 508, Centreville, VA, 20122.

Saturday, Dec 8th: Raise awareness among dealers & customers at GM dealerships
For rally locations visit this Facebook page.

Sunday, Dec 9th: Day of prayer for GM hunger strikers and their families
Add your name to the open letter from 109 faith leaders demanding negotiations. Post video prayer or statement on GM’s Facebook page.

For more info visit: and

Interview with Jorge Parra and ASOTRECOL Supporters on WCBN Radio And How You Can Help

ASOTRECOL president Jorge Parra and WCAT organizers Diana Sierra and Kevin Young were guests on Greg Pratt’s WCBN-FM radio show this past week.They spoke about Parra’s renewed hunger strike and the connection with Michigan struggles.

Listen to the interview here (53 minutes)

Learn about ways you can help the ASOTRECOL workers from home.

WCAT and Southeast Michigan Community Support Injured GM Colombian Workers

On November 20, Jorge Parra, president of a union of injured GM-Colombia workers (ASOTRECOL), sewed his mouth shut and restarted his hunger strike, as other ASOTRECOL workers continue their 15-month long tent occupation outside the U.S. embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. To support ASOTRECOL workers, on November 28, members of the Washtenaw Community Action Team joined Southeast Michigan Latin America solidarity activists and labor activists at the Renaissance Center in Detroit in calling for GM to hold direct negotiations with ASOTRECOL.

Free Speech Radio News, a alternative media service broadcast across the U.S., interviewed WCAT organizer Kevin Young. Listen to the interview here.

1128GMProtest_1Participants at Rally for GM Colombian Workers1128_GMProtest_3

For background on ASOTRECOL, see this leaflet (PDF) and other Washtenaw Community Action Team website updates on this struggle.

Nov 28th Call to Action: GM Nominated for “Corporate Excellence” Award as Disabled GM Workers and Families Starve

Nov. 28th Call to Action: General Motors Nominated for “Corporate Excellence” Award as Disabled GM Workers and Families Starve
National protests at GM Headquarters in Detroit and U.S. State Dept. in D.C. on Wednesday, Nov. 28th

WHY: Solidarity Protest for Hunger Strikers demanding negotiations with GM-Detroit
WHEN: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Wednesday Nov. 28th
WHERE: GM Headquarters, 400 Renaissance Center Drive, Detroit AND U.S. State Dept. Ben Franklin RM, Washington D.C.

The President of the Association of Injured and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia (ASOTRECOL), Jorge Parra, sewed his mouth shut on November 20th and is on hunger strike. Jorge, alongside local unions, community organizations, and religious leaders, demands that GM Detroit negotiate with ASOTRECOL. Jorge’s fellow workers continue their 15-month-long tent occupation outside the U.S. embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering awarding General Motors the “Award for Corporate Excellence,” citing GM’s “exemplary labor practices” and its overall “corporate social responsibility.” In 2006 the Bush administration granted the award to Colmotores, the GM plant located in Bogotá, Colombia–the same plant responsible for destroying the lives of the ASOTRECOL workers.

GM Colombia (Colmotores), the most profitable GM plant in Latin America, fired over 200 workers who suffered work-related injuries and diseases, including spinal fractures and cancer.
GM bought off government inspectors, doctors, lawyers, and judges to hide evidence of poor working conditions and worker injuries. They falsified documents and destroyed patients’ medical histories.
GM refuses to recognize the workers’ occupational injuries and provide the fired workers with adequate medical compensation and pensions. Taking into account lost wages, pensions, and medical care, labor lawyers estimate a just settlement to be $24 million. In August 2012 Colmotores offered just $5,000 in total compensation to 12 workers. One spinal surgery alone costs over $50,000.


  • GM Detroit must negotiate directly with ASOTRECOL.
  • Recognize workers’ injuries as occupational and provide adequate medical care
  • Pay pensions for disabled workers and rehire those still able to work
  • Compensate workers for economic damage, including lost wages and homes
  • Recognize ASOTRECOL as a GM union
  • U.S. enforcement of the Labor Action Plan, which outlines basic protections for workers within the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

MAKE A FINANCIAL DONATION:ASOTRECOL workers and their families lack adequate food, shelter, and medical care. Send a donation check to “Wellspring UCC” with “Colombia relief” on the memo line. Mailing address: Wellspring UCC, Box 508, Centreville VA 20122.

CONTACT: For Spanish: Jorge Parra (ASOTRECOL), jjorgeaalberto at; 540-220-8257. For English/Spanish: Diana Sierra (Graduate Employees’ Organization), dcarolina1994 at, 607-857-5677, or Kevin Young, kyoung1984 at, 607-857-5677.

Flyer for event