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The United Steel Workers of America file a lawsuit against US-based Drummond Co.

Published by MAC on 2002-03-31

The United Steel Workers of America file a lawsuit against US-based Drummond Co.

Drillbits and Tailings (Project Underground) - March, 31 2002: Volume 7, No 3

COLOMBIA: The United Steel Workers of America (USWA) filed a lawsuit against US-based Drummond Co. earlier this month (March 2002), alleging that the company was behind the murders of three South American employees who organized workers at its coal mining operations in northern Colombia.

Valmore Locarno Rodriguez,Victor Hugo Orcasita Amaya and Gustavo Soler Mora worked for Sintramienergetica, a Colombian Union that represented Drummond workers. The complaint alleges that the murders of the men were part of a systematic plan by Drummond to intimidate union members. The complaint goes on to say that Soler was the new president of the union, which represented more than 1,000 miners. He was abducted from a bus and shot twice; his body was found in October. According to the USWA, Locarno and Orcasita, were shot to death after being pulled off a company-chartered bus. Soler had replaced Locarno as president of the local union; Orcasita was the vice president. Nine months before his murder, Locarno had personally met with Drummond, the CEO, to discuss a workers compensation dispute.

The lawsuit was filed under a law that lets non-citizens use U.S. courts to address wrongdoing abroad by Americans. In other news, Richard Solly of the UK-based Partizans/Colombia Solidarity Campaign reported earlier this month that the farming village of Tabaco was completely demolished by Intercor, a former wholly-owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil. The company was trying to clear the for the expansion of its huge El Cerrejon Zona Norte mine. The displaced community, which is overwhelmingly of African-Colombian and Indigenous descent, still seeks compensation to find housing and continue farming elsewhere. Intercor is now owned by South Africa-based Anglo-American, BHP-Billiton (based in Australia and Britain), and Glencore (based in Switzerland).

(Associated Press, March 14, 2002; Personal Communication, Richard Solly, March 8, 2002)

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