Fighting for worker justice in the global economy.
Background Information: Guatemala, Trade Union Violence, and CAFTA
Guatemala is the second most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist, trailing only Colombia. Ten trade unionists were reported murdered in 2011 and in 2010; 16 trade unionists were assassinated in 2009, and nine 2008. No one has been been convicted for any of these murders. In 2011, six trade unionists were murdered in the banana sector alone, all of whom were members or former members of SITRABI, the oldest and largest private sector union in Guatemala, representing Del Monte workers. A 7th Sitrabi member was murdered in February 2012,
A November 2010 fact sheet summarizing violence in Guatemala against trade unionists.
The Central American Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) is a trade and investment agreement between the U.S., the Dominican Republic, and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Following a bitter fight, CAFTA was narrowly approved by the U.S. Congress in the summer of 2005. A separate trade agreement with Panama was negotiated in 2006 and approved in October 2011.
Guatemalan trade unions and the AFL-CIO filed a CAFTA labor complaint against Guatemala in 2008, citing violence and impunity among other worker rights violations. Negotiations for a resolution of the complaint continued as of the end of 2012. A labor complaint was filed on Honduras in March 2012 by the AFL-CIO and two dozen Honduran trade unionists.
The U.S. government does not consider murder of trade unionists to be a violation of worker rights subject to the CAFTA complaint process, as reported on page 8 of the Fall 2012 newsletter. The CAFTA labor complaint process has so far proven ineffective to date in securing meaninguful progress on worker rights in Guatemala.
- Murder and Impunity: Colombia and Guatemala
- Trade, Globalization, and the Race to the Bottom
- Flower Workers and Economic Justice
- Honduran Labor Resistance to the Coup
- Labor Rights in Mexico
- Banana Worker Justice Initiative
- Sweatshop Initiative
- Coffee Worker Justice Initiative
- Past Struggles
Check out our collaborative labor rights blog, Labor is Not a Commodity!