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


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 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

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.

WCAT Community Forum: The Co-Operative Movement: An Alternate Way of Organizing How We Live

The Co-Operative Movement: An Alternate Way of Organizing How We Live?Washtenaw Community Action Team Community Forum - The Co-Operative Movement: An Alternate Way of Organizing How we Live?
Date and Time
: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 7:30 PM
Location:  Suite 3F (LEO/GEO Office), 330 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. (Take elevator from street level.)

Join the Washtenaw Community Action Team and Co-Cycle for a public gathering/discussion on:
The Co-Operative Movement: An Alternate Way of Organizing How we Live?

A discussion led by Gaia Kile, Vice president, Board of Directors, People’s Food Co-op, Ann Arbor.
Co-organized by:
Washtenaw Community Action Team (WCAT) and the Co-op Solidarity Team of the Inter-Co-operative Council, Ann Arbor (a.k.a. The Student Co-ops).
Downloadable event flyer (JPG)

WCAT Community Forum: Spain – Social movements and the current economic crisis

Join the Washtenaw Community Action Team for a community forum:

Spain – Social movements and the current economic crisis

Date and Time: Thursday July 19, 2012, at 7:00 pm.

Location: Office of the Lecturer Employees Organization/ Graduate Employees Organization (LEO/GEO)
330 E. Liberty, Suite 3F.  Ann Arbor (take elevator
from street level).

Update: Due to the Art Fair taking place on nearby streets, you may need some extra time to get to the LEO office as some streets may be closed off and/or more crowded than usual. More info on parking during the Art Fair.

An informal, public discussion with Andrés Villena, a Spanish activist and academic currently visiting Ann Arbor from Spain, about the current economic crisis in Spain and the rest of Europe, and about the ongoing social movements in Spain that have sprung up in response to the crisis.

About the speaker: Andrés Villena Oliver (born 1980) studied Political Science, Sociology and Economics, and currently teaches Sociology at the University of Málaga, Spain. He has also worked as an editor in different political digital newspapers in Spain, and currently writes political columns in Spanish for the Diario Público newspaper.

Andrés has written and/or co-authored several books and articles, including one on the 15-M movement and its future. (The 2011–2012 Spanish protests, variously called the 15-M Movement and the “Indignants'” movement (“movimiento de los indignados”) have been demanding radical social change, somewhat similarly to the Occupy movement in the U.S.)

Event flyer (PDF)