Solidarity with Injured GM Workers Launching Hunger Strike February 11th

Demonstrate Solidarity with Injured GM Workers in Colombia
4:30-6 PM TUES FEB. 11
GM Headquarters, Renaissance Center, Detroit MI (map)
Facebook event

GM-COLOMBIA 8 RESUME HUNGER STRIKE FEB. 11

The GM-Colombia 8 autoworkers announced on February 1st that they are resuming their water-only hunger strike, with their lips sewn shut, on Tues., Feb. 11th. That’s the date in 1937 when militant UAW workers in Flint ended a historic 44-day sit-down strike, after GM agreed to recognize the UAW as the workers’ exclusive bargaining agent.

Their first fast in August 2012 ended after 22 days when GM agreed to a mediation with the workers’ association, ASOTRECOL – which ended without a settlement. Citing the workers’ rejection of their paltry ‘final offer,’ GM has since refused the workers’ demand to go back to the table.

Out of the 68 members who formed ASOTRECOL in 2011, eight are holding steadfast and remain in the fight today. Employed an average of 8 years, they suffered debilitating injuries working 12-14 hours/day on an antiquated assembly line. 4-6 years ago GM devised illegal ways to get rid of them. With no union to turn to, and stonewalled by the Colombian legal system, the workers in August 2011 set up a tent encampment in front of the US Embassy in Bogota – where they’ve been ever since – (as of Feb. 1st) 914 days.

GM: FLINT 1937 = COLOMBIA TODAY

The working conditions in their factory were eerily similar to those in Flint in the 1930s. These include: hazardous and unhealthy work conditions, job insecurity, extreme speedup, firings, anti-union policies including espionage and intimidation, and displacement of workers at an extremely early age – all with the backdrop of no government oversight and weak or no unions. This is what gave rise to the struggle by the GM workers 80 years ago in Flint – and today in Colombia.

After these conditions were exposed by ASOTRECOL, GM made safety improvements, corrected some management practices and changed management personnel at the Colmotores plant. GM must now end its war of attrition against the GM-Colombia 8, and make them whole!

For more background on the injured GM workers in Colombia, see the ASOTRECOL website.GMColombia

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

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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.

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
Contact: asotrecolsolidaridad@gmail.com, facebook.com/SolidarityWithGMHungerStrikers

Print

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 http://www.facebook.com/SolidarityWithGMHungerStrikers

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 asotrecolsolidarity.tumblr.com .

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

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 gmail.com

Friday Dec 7: Fundraiser for hunger strikers’ families that lack food, shelter, & medical care
Donate at www.wellspringucc.org . 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: asotrecolsolidarity.tumblr.com and facebook.com/SolidarityWithGMHungerStrikers

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.

SHAME ON GM
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.

THE WORKERS’ DEMANDS:

  • 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 hotmail.com; 540-220-8257. For English/Spanish: Diana Sierra (Graduate Employees’ Organization), dcarolina1994 at gmail.com, 607-857-5677, or Kevin Young, kyoung1984 at gmail.com, 607-857-5677.

Flyer for event
(PDF).

Protest at GM Headquarters, Monday 9/17, 4pm

Former GM worker Jorge Parra was one of several hundred workers who were fired from General Motors’ plant in Colombia after suffering workplace injuries. Join him outside GM headquarters to demand that GM
rehire the workers and provide medical full compensation. Jorge and his fellow workers have been on hunger strike since September 3rd, and several workers have sewn their mouths shut in protest. Jorge may be sewing his mouth shut at Monday’s protest. Please come, he desperately needs our solidarity and support!Image

    Date: Monday, Sept. 17th, 4pm
    Location: GM Headquarters, 300 Renaissance Center  Detroit, MI
    Invite Friends on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/444023235640667/
    For carpooling contact Kevin at kyoung1984 [at] gmail.com

Solidarity Fundraiser: GM Colombia Worker Brings Hunger Strike to GM’s Detroit Doorstep

Place: Hathaway’s Hideaway, 310 S. Ashley, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
Time: 7 PM, Friday,  Sept 14th, 2012
Suggested $5 donation

Join us to hear GM Colombia Hunger Striker, Jorge Parra, speak about the reignited hunger strike of ten workers against GM; and for a night of music and performances. All donations will go directly to the hunger strikers and their families.

Ten members of the Association of Injured Workers and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia (ASOTRECOL) reignited their hunger strike on September 3rd after GM Colombia in negotiations refused to provide adequate compensation and rehire workers who were fired due to work-related injuries. GM only agreed to a financial settlement, initially offering $5,000 in total sum to twelve workers–in reality turning the workers into street vendors. GM then offered $30,000 per worker. However, spinal surgery alone costs
$50,000. When the workers refused, GM then tried to “fix the personal situation” of Jorge Parra, ASOTRECOL president and hunger striker. GM Colombia executives said the workers were “far more dangerous inside the plant than out.”

Jorge is now in Detroit demanding to negotiate directly with GM Detroit to ensure a just settlement for all workers involved. Meanwhile, workers in Colombia continue their hunger strike and year long tent occupation outside the U.S. embassy in Bogotá. ASOTRECOL’s struggle reflects the failure of the 2011 Labor Action Plan to defend workers rights, a $2 million program paid for by U.S. taxpayers and a condition of the Free-Trade Agreement between the United States and Colombia. By ignoring ASOTRECOL’s demands for justice, General Motors, and the U.S. and Colombian government perpetuate the violent conditions that make Colombia the most dangerous country in the world for labor organizers. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) documented 29 trade unionist murders, 10 attempted murders, and 342 death threats in 2011. Private security firms have harassed and surveilled ASOTRECOL.