ASOTRECOL- Injured Colombian General Motors Workers

This video shows officials from the U.S. Embassy (men in suits and ties) grabbing Manuel, throwing him to the ground where they proceeded to kick him. Manuel, who suffers from chronic pain as a result of the injuries he developed working at GM, has been in intense pain since the Embassy officials carried out this aggression. His face is severely swollen. Carlos was pulled down and ended up with injuries to his back. Jorge, who after receiving blows, picked up his cane and swung it in the air to prevent any of the officials from coming near him, suffered injuries to his hand, leg, and shoulders.

The injured Colombian GM workers are seeking justice from GM for their injuries and illegal dismissals from GM without compensation. These workers have been camped in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia for over three years and have been fighting their cases with GM for even longer. Colombian government regulators have failed to do their jobs and have even acted in complicity with GM. The U.S. government has failed to hold GM accountable.

The industrial union SINTRAIME, which represents workers inside the GM plant sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra requesting that she intervene and send a team capable of resolving this situation to Colombia at once. SINTRAIME has reached out to unions representing GM workers around the world, soliciting their support.

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Since August of 2011, a group of inspiring autoworkers has been living in a tent encampment in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. Prior to their current set of actions, they have endured four hunger strikes with their lips stitched shut with a needle and thread as part of a protest against General Motors’ inhumane treatment of employees at its Colombian assembly plant. The injured workers who formed ASOTRECOL were severely injured at work, then illegally fired and left to a system rigged to deny workers’ comp.

hunger strike feb 2014 11 days

Injured workers Carlos, Jorge, and Manuel

GM implicitly acknowledged the legitimacy of the workers’ grievances when it sat down to negotiations with ASOTRECOL in August 2012. But unfortunately the company has been more interested in covering up what happened than doing the right thing. Negotiations ended with the company offering the injured workers just 18 months’ wages to go away.

foto 3 - tres dos grevistas da Asotrecol

Carlos, Pedro, and Wilson

The story doesn’t end there… GM didn’t reckon with all the support the Colombians have received from rank-and-file autoworkers and solidarity activists here in the US! The ASOTRECOL Solidarity Network is dedicated to supporting the Colombian GM workers until they reach a just settlement with General Motors, and building solidarity between workers in the U.S., Colombia, and additional countries around the world.

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Some of the workers at the tent encampment outside the US Embassy in Colombia

  • Watch a documentary about the struggle here
  • Keep up with the latest news from the struggle here
  • Donate much needed funds to sustain the struggle of the injured workers and their families here
  • Do outreach and educate others in your union, community, organization, or faith congregation with these resources.
  • Participate in actions in your area to create the pressure needed to get GM to settle with the workers here

Thank you,
The ASOTRECOL Solidarity Network
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