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Weak enforcement of existing labor laws and continued violence against labor leaders in Colombia more than a year after the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan should offer important lessons of what not to do in future trade agreements, concluded a report by Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and James McGovern (D-Mass.). Miller and McGovern, who are members of the Congressional Monitoring Group on Labor Rights in Colombia, visited the country in August and had an opportunity to examine the implementation of the Labor Action Plan and its impact on the ground.
“Despite the [Labor Action Plan], murders and threats against union members and harmful subcontracting [that deny the right to organize] persist in Colombia largely unabated,” the report said. “[R]eports of worsening labor rights conditions in Colombia provide an important lesson when developing trade policy. The fact that the LAP has not resulted in improving working conditions [on the ground] in Colombia merits attention especially in the context of current negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership [trade agreement].”