WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement today on the proposed U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.
“The fight for worker’s rights—whether in Ohio or Wisconsin or around the world—is about more than just the right to collectively bargain for fair wages and basic benefits. It’s about rights and fairness. It’s about economic opportunity and mobility. And it’s about building a middle class.
“Today’s announcement of a ‘labor rights action plan’ as a pathway to Congressional consideration of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement does little to ensure those basic rights. It does not ensure our trade agenda empowers workers in Colombia, who face violence, impunity, and even death. It merely represents another example of Washington being out-of-touch with concerns and values of most Americans.
“In my meeting with Colombian Vice President Garzon in Washington earlier this year, he expressed his government’s commitment to address well-documented and persistent issues of violence and impunity against trade unionists. Unfortunately, the ‘labor rights action plan’ represents mere aspirations masked as concrete actions, ignoring a country’s history rooted with hostility toward the rights of workers. I continue to oppose this agreement because violence continues to be condoned and workers continue to be intimidated, harmed, and killed when they exercise basic labor and human rights.
“While Congress tries to prevent a government shutdown—while the gathering threat to workers rights across the world is ever more clear—the President’s announcement of a trade agreement with a country that remains the most dangerous country to be trade unionist, is a disappointment.”