GNU urges the immediate dropping of all charges against Luis Antulio Alpirez Guzmán and Dora Regina Ruano Saldaña

Submitted by smaple on January 30, 2019
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8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1100, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 USA

January 30, 2019

H.E. Jimmy Morales, President Republic of Guatemala
Casa Presidencial
Guatemala City

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of Global Nurses United, an international federation of nurses’ unions in 22 countries around the world, we are writing to urge the immediate dropping of all charges against Luis Antulio Alpirez Guzmán and Dora Regina Ruano Saldaña, leaders of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud de Guatemala (SNTSG), one of our affiliated unions. Mr. Alpirez Guzmán and Ms. Ruano Saldaña were recently detained, along with nine others, over an allegation concerning a collective bargaining agreement freely entered into by the government of the Republic of Guatemala in 2013.

We believe the detention of Mr. Alpirez Guzmán and Ms. Ruano Saldaña violates the SNTSG’s right to exist and is a politically motivated attempt to undermine an agreement between the union and the government of Guatemala which should be respected. Furthermore, the detention of these union leaders stands in stark violation of the International Labor Organization’s Conventions 87 and 98, which explicitly protects workers’ freedom of association and right to organize. It further violates the Organization of American States’ American Convention on Human Rights, which also gives everyone the right to freedom of association, as well as the OAS’ Protocol of San Salvador, which states that signatory governments must ensure that “the right of workers to organize trade unions and to join the union of their choice for the purpose of protecting and promoting their interests,” and that governments “shall also permit trade unions, federations and confederations to function freely.” Protecting the right to form trade unions is also guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

We stand in solidarity with the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud de Guatemala, denounce these attacks on trade union rights by your government, and urge the immediate dismissal of these unjust charges and reinstate the terms of the union’s collective bargaining agreement which the government unilaterally suspended. The government of Guatemala must respect the SNTSG’s right to exist and uphold your obligations under international conventions and treaties.


Annie Butler, Federal Secretary
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Australia)

Judith Kiejda, Assistant General Secretary
New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (Australia)

Solange Caetano, President
Federação Nacional dos Enfermeiros do Brasil (Brazil)

Linda Silas, President
Canadian Federation of Nurses’ Unions (Canada)

Nancy Bédard, President
Féderation interprofessionelle de la santé du Québec (Canada)

Rafael Reig Recena, General Secretary of Trade Union Action Sindicato de Enfermería (Spain)

Bonnie Castillo, Executive Director Deborah Burger, Co-President Zenei Cortez, Co-President
Jean Ross, Co-President
National Nurses United (United States of America)

Jocelyn S. Andamo, General Secretary Filipino Nurses United (Philippines)

George Tsolas, President
Thomai Aslanoglou, General Secretary
Pan-Hellenic Federation of Nursing Staff (PASONOP) (Greece)

Dr. Edward Mathews, Director of Regulation and Social Policy Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (Ireland)

Kerri Nuku, Co-President
Grant Brookes, Co-President
New Zealand Nurses Organisation | Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Maria Concepción Chávez, President
Asociación Paraguaya de Enfermería (Paraguay)

Zoila Bernardita Cotrina Díaz, President
Federación de Enfermeras del Ministerio de Salud del Perú (Peru)

Julio César García Cruceta, General Secretary
Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Enfermería (Dominican Republic)

Zxyyann Lu, President
Taiwan Nurses' Union (Taiwan)

Wei Hsu, Supervisor
Taipei City Hospital Labor Union (Taiwan)
Justus Cherop Kiplangat, President

Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (Uganda)

Sr. Luis Antulio Alpirez Guzman, Secretario general, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud de Guatemala
Sra. Dora Regina Ruano Saldaña, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud de Guatemala Su Excelencia Manuel Espina, Embajador de la República de Guatemala en los Estados Unidos H.E. Luis E. Arreaga, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala
Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization
Mr. Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO
Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation
Sr. Victor Báez Mosqueira, Secretario general, Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores/as de las Américas Ms. Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International
Sr. Joel Hernández García, Miembro de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Organización
The Hon. Eliot L. Engel, Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs

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