Irís Munguía began toiling at a banana packing plant at age 18, living on the banana finca (plantation) as a condition of employment. After 22 years at the plant, the longtime union activist now heads the Honduran banana and agricultural worker confederation, COSIBAH (Coordinadora de Sindicatos Bananeros y Agroindustriales de Honduras), founded in 1993. Munguía also is the first female coordinator of COLSIBA, the Latin American coordinating body of agricultural unions.
Juan de Dios Sáenz Rosales, president of the Union of Workers of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (SITRAUNAH), was killed on Aug. 22. Late last night, Honduran authorities announced that his son had been arrested for the murder.* The AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with SITRAUNAH as they mourn this loss and urges the government of Honduras to continue to investigate and prosecute this case vigorously until ensure justice has been is achieved for Juan de Dios Sáenz and his loved ones
There are doubts about the institutions responsible for the rule of law in Honduras and the government’s protection of human rights, acknowledged the U.S. State Department in an Aug. 8 report. Unfortunately, the State Department says virtually nothing about the widespread impunity regarding violations of freedom of association or the threats and violence aimed at labor activists.
The U.S. government will investigate charges that the government of Honduras has failed to address “repeated and well-documented violations of workers' rights.” Those charges were made in a petition filed in March by the AFL-CIO and major Honduran trade unions with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA).
May Day—International Workers' Day—is a day when there should be no borders or barriers between workers around the world, said Shawna Bader-Blau, executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, at a special May Day forum at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., today. The forum focused on the challenges and conditions of Latina and immigrant workers in the United States and women workers around the globe.
Citing “repeated and well-documented violations of workers' rights” that the Honduran government has “utterly failed to address,” the AFL-CIO and the major Honduran trade unions are asking the U.S. government to act under the terms of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).
Ninety-four U.S. representatives and seven senators expressed concern March 12 to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton over the deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras. In “Dear Colleague” letters, prompted by 10 labor organizations representing nearly 15 million members, the members of Congress raised Honduras’ systemic, continuing human rights violations with Clinton.
The letters say more than 300 people, including 18 journalists, have been the victims of politically related killings since the 2009 Honduran coup and remind Clinton that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 requires the State Department to determine and report back to Congress whether the Honduran military is investigating military and police personnel accused of human rights violations.
Ever since it was passed five years ago, the Central America Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) has led to an increase in unemployment, violations of worker rights and discrimination against women in Honduras, according to an about-to-be-released documentary.
Join the human rights advocacy group STITCH and the women of its Central America Network of Women for Social and Economic Justice on a 10-day delegation July 27 to Aug. 6, 2011, to Honduras to see firsthand the impact of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) five years later.