·  by Ben Davis   ·  USW

USW Lauds Solis and Kirk for Standing Up for Workers' Rights in Guatemala

Situations in Colombia & Mexico Need Scrutiny, Too

Contact: Ben Davis (412) 562-2501

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworker (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released this statement today in response to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and U.S. Trade representative calls for formal investigation of worker rights violations in Guatemala.

“We commend Secretary Solis and Ambassador Kirk for beginning the formal process of addressing workers’ rights violations in Guatemala.   This is the first step in the process, and sends a strong signal that the United States will enforce the law in this important area.   Proper recognition and enforcement of workers’ rights are vital to the proper functioning of markets and the global economy.

Workers in Guatemala have lost income, their jobs and, in some cases, their lives attempting to exercise their basic rights.   While the previous Administration ignored the systematic violations of these rights, the President has begun the process to ensure that these rights will be respected.   That’s an important and vital change in the enforcement of our trade laws.

We all know that the violation of workers’ rights, however, is not limited to Guatemala.   In countries around the globe, the systematic denial of these rights has been largely ignored by previous Administrations.   Today’s action must be followed by efforts to address problems ranging from those in our neighbor to the south, Mexico, to an end of violence and denial of rights in Colombia to actions elsewhere in the world.”

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