Frank Hammer and Stu Daily have reported a breakthrough for the ASOTRECOL group, which has been advocating for Colombian workers fired by General Motors. It is one of the biggest accomplishments in the 9+ year struggle.
Our injured Colombian former GM workers, who have organized under the name ASOTRECOL and maintained a tent encampment on the street 24-7 in front of the US Embassy in Bogota to protest their illegal dismissals, have successfully supported a new group of injured workers dismissed illegally by GM.
In February, just before the pandemic hit, GM received government authorization to reduce its labor force by 103. The government authorization explicitly stated that injured workers (who have some additional protections in Colombia) were not to be included.
We don’t know exactly how many of the 103 workers GM was authorized to fire were terminated from their jobs. We do know that 44 of these fired workers sought the legal counsel of Kemba the lawyer representing ASOTRECOL.
These workers increased their visibility (and subsequently ASOTRECOL’s visibility) by taking turns maintaining a presence at the tent encampment. This visibility was critical to one of two judges ruling on the side of the workers.
The attached video shows several of the workers dismissed in February at the tent encampment learning the news from Kemba on a video call, that the first 20 out of 44 who filed the legal process have been ordered reinstated immediately and permanently by the judge!!!
The only reason why only 20 and not all 44 workers were granted reinstatement through this court decision was the COVID pandemic. Due to COVID, this trial was conducted virtually and there were technical reasons for restricting the size and number of files that could be transmitted via email (instead of presented in person in the court). Therefore, we have reason to believe that the remaining 22 fired workers will be reinstated in a second wave of this trial.
We also have video (see link below) of these reinstated workers vowing to remain vigilant and fight for the reinstatement of their fellow injured and dismissed workers.
As you can imagine, this has been a huge morale boost for Jorge and the other ASOTRECOL members who have worked to maintain this constant struggle and occupation of the tent encampment since August 2, 2011. They continue to show GM that until they settle with the workers, they will not have an easy time continuing their practice of dismissing workers injured on the job.
The message coming out of this win? When we work together we are powerful.
The struggle continues. Thanks to the working class brothers and sisters participating in the collective struggle to improve labor conditions in all countries of the globe.
To view the video of celebrating reinstated Colombian GM workers, click here.
The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights recently hosted its annual dinner in an online/Zoom format. Online attendees saw the presentation of MCHR’s annual award recognizing social justice leaders and a keynote address from Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign.
In case you missed the event, a recorded version of the dinner proceedings and the annual dinner program are available.
To view Zoom recording of MCHR’s 40th annual dinner, click on link below:
To view the program for MCHR’s 40th annual dinner, please click here.
Gilda Z. Jacobs, President & CEO
Michigan League for Public Policy
Zoom Presentation: Open to the Public – Invite Friends and Family
Saturday, October 17, 2020
10 a.m. to Noon
(part of Gray Panthers public meeting)
Click HERE to Join the Meeting; or call 1-646-558-8656, ID: 811 7988 9305
CO-SPONSORS: Southeast Michigan Green Parties; United Church of Christ – DMA; Peace Action of Michigan; Michigan Coalition for Human Rights; SE Michigan Jobs with Justice; Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Southeast Michigan; Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network.
Gray Panthers Metro Detroit is an intergenerational social justice organization with members in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. For more information, call Randy at 248-224-5572 (cell).
Click here to download the flyer.
Long-time MCHR board member Frank Hammer and his wife, Karen, have lived across the street from the former Michigan State Fairgrounds for 40 years. Since the final Michigan State Fair held there in 2009, the Hammers have been leading a group of Detroit activists in promoting a sustainable and community oriented re-development of the site.
Detour Detroit recently published an article on the events leading up to the controversial deal the City of Detroit made with commercial real estate interests to redevelop the site, which will include a $400 million, 300,000 sq. ft. Amazon distribution facility as its centerpiece. The coverage also examines the dedicated advocacy and activism of Frank and Karen, as they continue to fight for a redevelopment plan that considers the needs of the community.
Click here to read the Detour Detroit coverage (“Detroiters Spent Years Imagining the State Fairground’s Future. Why Didn’t the City Listen?”)
Rev. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, will present the keynote address at the 40th annual meeting of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) which will be conducted virtually at 5 p.m. on October 4, 2020. MCHR will also recognize area human rights leaders for their works towards a peaceful world without poverty, prejudice, hate and commitment to environmental stewardship during the event.
Theoharis, an ordained Presbyterian minister, is also the director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminar in New York City. She has been an activist and advocate for poor and homeless people for more than 20 years. In addition, Theoharis is the author of two books, “Always With Us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor” and “Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing.”
As part of the event, MCHR will also honor these local human rights leaders and activists with awards for their strong commitment and outstanding service to the community:
About Michigan Coalition for Human Rights
The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights promotes awareness of, commitment to and advocacy for human rights and the environmental rights of planet Earth through education, community organization and action. MCHR opposes forces that suppress human dignity, freedom and justice – locally and around the world.