Machinists President Scolds Boeing CEO for Colombia FTA Support

Washington, D.C., April 23, 2010 – The president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today called on Boeing Company CEO Jim McNerney to demand an end to human rights abuses in Colombia as an essential pre-condition for the passage of any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with that country.

“I sincerely doubt Mr. McNerney would support the speedy passage of a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia if CEOs were being murdered in that country at the same rate as union members and human rights activists,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “As the newly-appointed chairman of President Obama’s Export Council, we hope Mr. McNerney can balance his free trade fervor with support for an end to the reign of terror that exists in Colombia today.”

Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. More than 2,000 union leaders and members have been murdered there since 1991 and very few of their killers have been brought to justice.

“At the very least, Mr. McNerney should insist that Colombia’s labor laws are brought into conformity with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards and support efforts to investigate all cases of assassinations of trade unionists,” said Buffenbarger.