As implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement nears its first anniversary, progress initially made in addressing Colombia’s dire labor rights situation has begun to erode. Political will in both countries to enforce labor laws is waning, and implementation of the Labor Action Plan (LAP)—the bilateral agreement that outlined concrete steps for Colombia to curb its labor rights violations—has stagnated. What are the implications of this backsliding, and what does it mean for Colombia’s workers?
On February 12, WOLA hosted a panel discussion to address the labor rights situation in Colombia. Senator Alexander López Maya, the leading advocate in the Colombian Senate on labor issues, was joined on this panel by the leadership of Colombia’s oil sector union, the USO—one of the largest in the country and a priority sector of the LAP—to discuss the continued challenges facing Colombian labor from both legislative and on-the-ground perspectives. From third-party subcontracting to anti-union violence, the event explored continued obstacles facing Colombia’s workers and recommendations for progress.