Inadequacies in Protecting Worker Rights in Deal Must Not be repeated in TPP


NEW HAVEN, CT—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) released the following statement today marking the two year anniversary of the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.  The anniversary comes as negotiations over a potential Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement are ongoing in Vietnam, where workers face many of the same exploitative conditions as those in Colombia. DeLauro is a member of the Congressional Monitoring Group on Labor Rights in Colombia. 


“Two years since enactment of the free trade agreement with Colombia, we have yet to see adequate improvements for workers on the ground in that country. Congress never should have allowed the agreement to go into effect before meaningful progress entailed in Labor Action Plan occurred. Violence against trade unionists continues, with 73 unionists killed since the action plan was signed. Furthermore, employer labor violations remain unchecked and Colombian workers continue to be denied the ability to collectively bargain and improve their livelihoods.  We must not repeat the same mistake with countries like Vietnam, where wages and working conditions are deplorable, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Critical labor issues must be addressed before any deal is agreed to.”


The mission of the Congressional Monitoring Group is to ensure that both the United States and Colombia make progress on labor rights including the commitments and timelines in the Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights.  The Labor Action Plan was agreed to in advance of concluding the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, but the agreement was nevertheless implemented before demonstrable progress was made in protecting worker safety and rights in Colombia.