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Campaign to Stop Killer Coke's Communique to LCLAA Convention

The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke has just been informed that The Coca-Cola Co. is co-sponsoring the 2004 Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) convention in New Mexico. Please consider the following facts:

The International Labor Rights Fund and the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO, filed a lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Co. and its Colombian bottlers in 2001 on behalf of SINALTRAINAL (National Union of Food Industry Workers), several of its members and the survivors of Isidro Gil, one of its murdered officers. The lawsuit charges 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."

In January 2004, New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate led a delegation on a 10-day, fact-finding tour to Colombia to investigate allegations of human rights violations by Coca-Cola. As one member said upon returning, "We heard one story after another of torture and injustice. The sheer number of these testimonials was overwhelming." The delegation issued a scathing report in April concluding 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." (The full report and other supporting information can be viewed at www.killercoke.org.)

Other serious crimes and abuses Coca-Cola is guilty of include:

  • Overexploitation and pollution of water sources in India, Mexico, Ghana and elsewhere
  • Use of sugar hazardously harvested by children in El Salvador
  • Aggressive marketing to children of nutritionally worthless and damaging products
  • History of racial discrimination
  • Opposition to environmentally-sound bottle deposit bills
  • Anti-worker policies in many foreign countries
  • Fraudulent business practices

In recent months, numerous unions, colleges and universities, human rights groups and others have taken strong stands against Coke's abuses. In June, the Service Employees International Union, the largest union in the AFL-CIO, and UNISON, the largest union in Great Britain, passed resolutions calling for a boycott of all Coca-Cola products until human rights abuses in Colombia's bottling plants are resolved. This follows strong support and actions by other unions and labor councils throughout the world.

Seven colleges and universities have terminated vendor and pouring contracts leading to the removal of Coke machines and all Coke products from the campuses. Activities continue on dozens of campuses throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and elsewhere also seeking to ban Coca-Cola products.

In April, one of the largest food coops in the U.S., the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, New York, with 10,800 members, voted to remove all Coke products from its shelves. Several pubs and restaurants have taken similar action. In addition, human rights organizations such as Veterans for Peace, SOAWatch, Witnesses for Peace and the India Resource Center have condemned and continue to organize against Coca-Cola's human rights abuses in Colombia and throughout the world.

In light of this horrific record of abuse, LCLAA should not lend its name and credibility to Coca-Cola nor should it serve as a marketplace or venue for its advertising. We hope that LCLAA will take appropriate action to send the strongest possible message to The Coca-Cola Co.

In solidarity,

Ray Rogers
Director
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
(718) 852-2808
info@KillerCoke.org

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