PASO protects Colombian trade unionists and empowers workers across international borders as agents of change in the struggle for justice in the workplace, environmental protection and lasting social equality through physical accompaniment, member education, new organizing strategies, and advocacy work.
More union activists are murdered in Colombia than in the rest of the world’s countries combined. Two-thirds of Colombia’s workers are employed informally with no benefits, collective representation, or a guaranteed minimum wage. The media and representatives of the government spread the myth that unions and other justice-oriented organizations are associated with the country’s armed insurgency. As a result of all of these factors, union membership has fallen to 4% of the national workforce, one of the lowest rates in the world.
PASO provides protection for Colombian workers involved in non-violent protests, organizing drives, collective bargaining, community-labor partnerships and the environmental movement. We develop strategies between unions, social justice organizations, students, and civil society to monitor human and labor rights in the wake of international Free Trade Agreements. We also facilitate educational exchanges between workers and activists in which participants can exchange ideas about organizing and build power around issues that affect the working class on a global scale. A priority is placed on processes in which women and people of color have leading roles.
The organization is designed to:
- Fortify the global labor movement, increase levels of union membership, and promote international cooperation between unions
- Reduce violent repression that continues to cripple the Colombian union movement by means of collective protection through international observation and solidarity
- Raise public awareness throughout the international community about anti-union violence and environmental degradation in Colombia
- Empower workers everywhere to express their rights to organize, strike, and collectively bargain
- Provide leader-to-leader education
- Educate civil society about union activity in Colombia and internationally
- Collaborate with Colombian unions and human rights organizations in developing self-protection strategies.
PASO’s strategies were developed in close collaboration with Colombian workers and activists and have been endorsed by the largest Colombian labor federation CUT, major unions in Colombia and internationally, and prominent human rights and advocacy organizations. Read a letter from our some of our allies to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos HERE.
PASO International is a non-violent, non-partisan organization and work only at the request and ongoing approval of beneficiary organizations.