Resolution to Hold Coca-Cola and SunTrust Banks Accountable for
Human Rights Abuses Against Colombian Union Leaders
Adopted Summer 2007
WHEREAS, United Steelworkers and the International Labor Rights Fund have filed a lawsuit under the Alien Tort Claims Act in July 2001 against The Coca-Cola Co. and its Colombian bottlers charging that Coca-Cola bottlers "contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders." The lawsuit was filed on behalf of SINALTRAINAL, the National Union of Food Industry Workers of Colombia, several of its members and the survivors of Isidro Gil, one of its murdered officers;
WHEREAS, on June 2, 2006, another Alien Tort Claims lawsuit was filed against The Coca-Cola Co. and its largest Latin American bottler, Coca-Cola FEMSA, charging "that managers at the Coke bottling plant in Barranquilla, Colombia, conspired with both the Colombian Administrative Dept. of Security and the AUC paramilitaries to intimidate, threaten and ultimately kill SINALTRAINAL trade union leader Adolfo de Jesus Munera;
WHEREAS, New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate led a delegation of labor, student and academic representatives on a 10-day fact-finding tour in Colombia to investigate Coca-Cola's alleged human rights violations. Included in the delegation were representatives of AFSCME/CSEA, AFT and CWA locals;
WHEREAS, the delegation's final report released in April 2004, concluded that 'Coca-Cola is complicit in human rights abuses of its workers in Colombia' — and its 'complicity is deepened by its repeated pattern of bringing criminal charges against union activists who have spoken out about the company's collusion with paramilitaries;' "
WHEREAS, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 18,000 Coca-Cola workers, is demanding that Coke protect the rights and safety of workers in Colombia and stop harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation of workers at Coca-Cola facilities in the U.S.;
In a February 7, 2006 press release from the Teamsters, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said: "Our union brothers and sisters at Coca-Cola bottling facilities in Colombia have been threatened, kidnapped, tortured and murdered. It's long past time for Coca-Cola to negotiate a global human rights agreement that will protect the rights and safety of workers who produce, package and distribute Coca-Cola products;"
Conference Director and Teamsters International Vice President, Jack Cipriani, said Coca-Cola's labor abuses in the United States include harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation at Coca-Cola Enterprises facilities as well as at Odwalla and Minute Maid operations — both wholly owned by The Coca-Cola Co.;"
WHEREAS, top policymakers and corporate structures of The Coca-Cola Co. and SunTrust Banks are so intertwined, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other;
WHEREAS, the present and former CEOs of Coca-Cola and SunTrust Banks serve as top policymakers on the boards of both Coca-Cola and SunTrust Banks;
WHEREAS, top policymakers of The Coca-Cola Co. and SunTrust Banks also serve on the board of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola's largest Colombian bottler;
WHEREAS, SunTrust Banks holds 5% of The Coca-Cola Company's common stock worth billions of dollars and provides hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to The Coca-Cola Co.;
WHEREAS, SunTrust is partnering with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to open bank branches in Wal-Mart stores and former Coca-Cola CEO and SunTrust director Douglas Daft serves on Wal-Mart's board of directors;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Carpenters Local 405, in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters fighting a life and death struggle to secure basic democratic and trade union rights, calls upon Carpenters Local 405 members to avoid purchasing Coca-Cola products and to boycott SunTrust Banks until the violence against union leaders and organizers stops and the Alien Tort Claims lawsuits are resolved, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Carpenters Local 405 encourages locals not to serve Coke products, including Dasani, Fanta, Minute Maid, Nestea, Odwalla, Powerade and Sprite, at meetings and insist that such products are not served at Carpenters Local 405/Northern California Carpenters Regional Council conferences, conventions and other functions, and
FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that Carpenters Local 405 publicize this issue on its website and in its publications and inform the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, The Coca-Cola Co. and SunTrust Banks of its action.
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