Take Action TODAY! Urge Your Rep. to Sign Letter Calling for Enforcement of CAFTA Labor Laws in Guatemala!

Rep. Linda Sanchez has issued a letter urging President Alvaro Colóm of Guatemala to address worker rights violations and violence against trade unionists.  These issues were raised in a CAFTA complaint filed last year by the AFL-CIO and six Guatemalan unions. 


The Bush administration issued a review of the CAFTA labor complaint in January 2009.  The review essentially supported the substance of the complaint but gave the Guatemalan government another six months, until mid-July, to address the issues raised in the complaint.  The complaint uses several case studies to document illegal firings, failure to bargain in good faith, health and safety violations, and violence against trade unionists. 

As is evident in the case of Guatemala, CAFTA's labor provisions have proven ineffective in protecting worker rights. Since CAFTA came into effect, violence against trade unionists in Guatemala has surged.  Last month, the International Trade Union Confederation declared Guatemala the second most dangerous country for trade unionists in Latin America, trailing only world-leader Colombia.   The ITUC reported nine trade unionists were murdered in 2008, on top of two trade unionists murdered in 2007.  In the two years leading up to CAFTA's approval, no trade unionists were murdered in Guatemala. 


CRLN asks our Representatives from Illinois to call for the enforcement of the minimal labor standards signed into law under CAFTA in order to protect worker rights and stop the violence against trade unionists.  They can do so by signing on to Rep. Sanchez's letter to Guatemalan President Colóm.  The deadline for signatures is tomorrow, Wednesday, July 8. 


If you don't know who your Members of Congress are, go to http://www.congress.org/ and type in your zip code to find out.  Below is a list of IL Members of Congress, their foreign policy staffers and their phone numbers.  When you call, ask to speak with the foreign policy aide. If he or she is unavailable, leave the following message on his or her voicemail:


"Hello, My name is __________, and as your constituent, I urge you to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" letter initiated by Rep. Linda Sanchez calling on Guatemalan President Alvaro Colóm to address worker rights violations and violence against trade unionists.  Six months ago, the AFL-CIO and 6 Guatemalan unions filed a complaint under CAFTA claiming their labor rights were being violated.  Former President Bush recognized the complaint in January and gave President Colóm 6 months - until July - to address it.  He has failed to do so. Guatemala is now the second most dangerous country in Latin America to be a trade unionist, so it is important that President Colóm take immediate action to enforce the labor standards signed into law under CAFTA.  Can I count on Rep. _________ to sign on to this important letter by Wednesday, July 8 to ensure that our free trade agreements uphold labor rights? Please let me know".

Illinois Representatives, Foreign Policy Aides and Phone Numbers:


Bobby Rush (D-1st) -Speak with John Marshall, 202-225-4372

Jesse Jackson (D- 2nd) ­ -Speak with Charles Dujon, 202-225-0773

Dan Lipinski (D- 3rd ) -Speak with Brian Oszakiewski, 202-225-5701

Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) -Speak with Virginia Zigras, 202-225-8203

Mike Quigley (5th) - Speak with Sean O'Brien

Peter Roskam (R-6th) -Speak with Steven Moore, 202-225-4561

Danny Davis (D-7th) -Speak with Jill Hunter-Williams, 202-225-5006

Melissa Bean (D-8th) -Speak with Liz Jurinka, 202-225-3711

Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) -Speak with Nina Besser, 202-225-2111

Mark Kirk (R-10th) -Speak with Richard Goldberg, 202-225-4835

Debbie Halverson (R-11th) -Speak with Justin Cajindos, 202-225-3635

Jerry Costello (D-12th) -Speak with Dan McCarthy, 202-225-5661

Judy Biggert (R-13th) -Speak with Griffin Foster, 202-225-3515

Bill Foster (R-14th) -Speak with Peter Judge, 202-225-2976

Timothy Johnson (R-15th) -Speak with Jen Mascho, 202-225-2371

Donald Manzullo (R-16th) -Speak with Nien Su, 202-225-5676

Phil Hare (D-17th)-Speak with Kemi Jemilohun, 202-225-5905

Aaron Schock (R-18th) -Speak with Steve Shearer, 202-225-6201

John Shimkus (R-19th) -Speak with Greta Hanson, 202-225-5271