United States labor unions are preparing an intensive campaign to try to stop the pending free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia, several media reported Wednesday.
According to political weblog The Hill, the country’s largest union federation will organize several events in the hope Congress will reject the agreement with Bogota. The U.S. union will receive support from Colombian labor unions, who will send representatives to Washington to talk about the situation of labor rights workers in the Andean nation.
According to both The Hill and Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on Tuesday will release a report on Telefonica, a major phone provider in Colombia, which the union says will show problems with the trade deal.
The next day, the AFL-CIO has planned an advertisement campaign against the trade pact.
On Thursday, Colombian lawmakers and the presidents of the AFL-CIO and the CWA will hold a press conference in which they will talk about the ongoing violence against labor rights workers in Colombia.
The campaign comes days after U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that Colombia had met the requirements set by the White House to send the agreement to Congress.
However, according to the U.S. and Colombian unions the agreed plans to increase protection for unionists is not enough.
While the unions line up to try to stop the free trade pact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it will be lobbying in favor of the trade deal.
According to USA Today, the chamber will contact each lawmaker personally and show to what extent U.S. businesses will benefit from free trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. To do this, the chamber reportedly created a website that shows how individual businesses will see their income grow.
“It will be great to go in and sit down with a member of the Senate or the House … and pull out a computer and say, ‘Look here,'” said Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue to USA Today.
The FTA with Colombia was signed in 2006, but never sent to Congress for approval amid Democratic concerns on human rights in Colombia.