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THINGS DON'T GO BETTER WITH COKE

DEAR EDITOR:

Members of the Coop may ask why we are no longer selling Honest Tea?

On March 1, The Coca-Cola Company announced that it had acquired 100% of Honest Tea. Our GM has voted on three occasions to boycott Coke products joining dozens of colleges, including Rutgers and Union Theological Seminary, as well as unions such as the United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union and New York State United Teachers. In addition, the Washington Food Co-op in Port Townsend, Washington, began a boycott of Odwalla in 2007.

We now add Honest Tea to the list of Coke products to be removed from our shelves along with other Coke products, which we removed from our shelves in April 2004.

Why are we boycotting Coke products? Coca-Cola has been complicit in labor, human rights and environmental abuses worldwide, a violation of our mission statement which states: “We seek to avoid products that depend on the exploitation of others... We respect the environment...We try to lead by example, educating ourselves and others about health and nutrition, cooperation and the environment... We oppose discrimination in any form.”

Coca-Cola has long been violating all of these principles!

In Colombia, union leaders have been murdered by death squads working with Coke plant managers. In 2001 and 2006, lawsuits were filed in the U.S. against Coca-Cola and its Colombian bottlers, charging that the bottlers “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders.”

Guatemalan union leaders are currently suing Coca-Cola and Coke processing and bottling plants in Guatemala. This case involves charges of murder, rape and torture. Among the charges is that the son and nephew of union leader Jose Alberto Vicente Chavez were murdered and his teenage daughter gang-raped because of his union activities.

Coca-Cola's overexploitation and pollution of water sources in India, EI Salvador, Mexico and elsewhere, have destroyed community sources of water needed for drinking, sanitation and the irrigation of crops creating enormous hardship and despair.

In El Salvador, Coke has been benefiting from hazardous child labor in sugar cane fields, first documented by Human Rights Watch.

Angel Alvarado Agüero, a Mexican citizen, 16-year Coca-Cola employee and top marketing executive turned whistleblower, has accused Coke of illegally cheating Mexican workers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in pay and profit sharing and the Mexican government out of millions in tax revenues.

The Coca-Cola Company continues marketing nutritionally worthless and damaging beverages to children that health experts say help fuel the childhood obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes epidemics. Phosphoric acid, caramel coloring and the artificial sweetener, aspartame, used in Coke's beverages are linked to numerous serious health disorders, including osteoporosis, stroke, heart attack, cancer and birth defects.
There have been large settlements against Coke and its distributors for racial discrimination. In two lawsuits, Coca-Cola Co. settled for $192.5 million in 2001 and $495,000 in 2010.

For more information on these abuses and more, go to www.KillerCoke.org.

Thanks,

Lew Friedman

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