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Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Newsletter | March 23, 2004

Contents of the Newsletter

  1. Join the Solidarity Actions Today
  2. Keep Calling Coke's Offices and Policymakers
  3. Thursday March 25: Coke is Defective Day
  4. Thursday March 25: NYC Flash-Mob-Protest:
  5. Reminder of Coca-Cola's Products:
  6. !!Colombian Hunger Strikers' Health Worsens & Paramilitary Threats!!

1. Join the Solidarity Actions Today

Working with USAS-United Students Against Sweatshops, over 250 students and our allies will be HUNGER STRIKING Tues. Mar 23 in solidarity with the Colombian union SINALTRAINAL, in eight different locations around the country! We demand that Coca-Cola sit down and negotiate with the union as mandated by their contract! We will NOT conduct business as usual in the face of egregious acts of violence and repression!

— List of events taking place Tuesday Mar 23 across the country:

  • New York City: Crystal Yackaki
    Students and allies will be outside the Coke Headquarters at 55th St. and 5th avenue from 8-10 and 4:30-6, protesting Coke's inaction towards the hunger striking SINALTRAINAL workers!
  • Minneapolis: Michael Eastwood
    Students, union members, and SINALTRAINAL member Luis Adolfo Cardona will rally outside of the Coke bottling headquarters in Eagan, MN!
  • Atlanta: Isaac Silver
    Students and allies will rally at 5pm tomorrow outside of Coke's International Headquarters in Atlanta!! They'll let Coke know that students all around the country are hunger striking in solidarity with SINALTRAINAL workers!
  • Chicago: Students and allies met on Monday with the Vice President of the bottling headquarters in Niles, IL!! Congrats to Chicago for a successful action!
  • Students will also rally and make our demands known at the following Coca-Cola Bottling Headquarters, as well as doing actions on campuses around the country.
  • Boston: Mandie Yanasak
  • New Orleans: Cori Marshall
  • Cincinnati: Judi Nitsch
  • Oakland: Jon Rodney
  • Los Angeles: Jenna Lippe- Klein
    ( Be in touch with these people for future actions.)

2. Keep Calling Coke's Offices and Policymakers

Please make calls to express your concerns about current and long-term mistreatment of workers in Colombia. As The Coca-Cola Co. annual meeting (scheduled for April 21 in Wilmington, Delaware) approaches, your calls will pressure Coke's top executives and board members to use their policymaking power to ensure that Coke does the Right Thing.

On Mar 23, students delivered a letter to Coke board members Herb Allen and Donald Keogh. Allen is a director of Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola FEMSA (Coca-Cola's largest bottler in Colombia) and has his own company office Allen & Co. in the same NYC building as Coca-Cola. Keogh chair's Allen's company Allen & Co. as well as serves as a director of Coke and Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the largest institutional shareholder of Coke stock. (Berkshire is the company of Warren Buffett, also a Coke director.) By calling these directors, you help personalize our concerns with those in power.

  • Herbert A. Allen and Donald Keogh — (212) 832-8000
  • Coca-Cola CEO Douglas Daft at (404) 676-3808 (Kay Goff, Daft's Exec. Assistant.)
  • Steven Heyer, Coca-Cola Co. President and a board member of Coca-Cola FEMSA — (404) 676-2121 (Coke Switchboard).

Think of calling a board member every day. Find the complete list of Coca-Cola's directors and their contact info at: http://www.corporatecampaign.org/killer-coke/board/cokedir.htm

3. Thursday March 25: Coke is Defective Day:

Alone or with friends, go to stores and pick up a Coke product, bring it to the cash register or customer service desk and politely inform a store employee that you consider Coke products to be "Defective" - unfit to buy or consume in light of the suppression and murder of union workers at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia, as well as the overexploitation of water and pollution in India; Coke's failure to live up to its promise to provide HIV/AIDS treatment to its African workers; the company's longstanding hostility toward environmental concerns, i.e. bottle bills (a major issue in New York), recycling and much more - see How Credible is Coca-Cola? Beyond Coke's Crimes in Colombia on our website. Let us know how it goes.

4. Thursday March 25: NYC Flash-Mob-Protest:

In New York City, meet at Union Square South (14th St. & Broadway) at 6 pm; Flash-Mob-Protest at 6:30 — we will visit different stores and carry out the "Coke is Defective" action. Contact: bernardo@KillerCoke.org

5. Reminder of Coca-Cola's Products:

Remember, Coke products include Minute Maid and Odwalla juices, Dasani (filtered tap water that just incurred a recall in England), Powerade and Nestea as well as soda brands Coke, Sprite, and Fanta.)

6. !!Colombia Hunger Strikers' Health Worsens & Paramilitary Threats!!
(Communication received Mar. 23 from Colombian Coke workers.)

Eight days into the glorious hunger strike by Colombian Coca Cola workers and the struggle continues, but neither the corporation nor the national government concern themselves with the grave health problems now affecting the participants in this important protest for life and dignity.

We report with great concern that:

Several comrades on hunger strike are now in a lamentable state of health; they have deteriorated seriously through emanation (accelerated loss of weight) and profound dehydration. The health of our president LUIS JAVIER CORREA SUAREZ is very delicate.

Some of the hunger strikers are daily showing less tolerance due to the loss of liquids in spite of maintaining periodic hydration and being permanently on drips.

Signs of depression are becoming common amongst the participants.

Symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, fainting, palpitations, chest pains, lack of sleep have become constant. All the participants are kept under the medical observation of doctors and nurses.

MARCO TULIO REY, who suffered a pre - heart attack on 19 March, is in a very delicate state.

But the most serious of all is that Coca Cola has visited the centres of attention of Social Security (who provide health services) to demand that they do NOT give medical attention to the workers from Coke bottling plants unless they have already ceased the hunger strike. This is the worst ever crime committed by the multinational.

Coca Cola has suspended six comrades at the Bucaramanga plant from their jobs for participating in our activities. This is also a repressive action by the corporation, which will only add more problems to the conflict. Coca Cola is happy to add fuel to the flames.

For the above reasons we make Coca Cola responsible for the health and life of our comrades and we make an urgent call to the multinational's directors in Atlanta and Mexico so that they stop this violent action against its workers. To continue with this situation could unleash unfortunate events.

In the same manner we make the Colombian state responsible for its continued deafness toward the urgent calls from the workers, who have on repeated occasions asked that it ensures that the labour rights and work security of the comrades are respected.

The attempts by the National Police to dislodge the hunger strikers continue being the order of the day. Situations as occurred in Bogota and Barranquilla especially are a very clear proof of the help that the multinational has been getting from the state security organs with the aim of breaking the workers' protest.

Paramilitary threats against SINALTRAINAL are now taking place across the country. If the paramilitaries manage to weaken the protest the only beneficiary will be Coca Cola.

We call on all social organisations, human rights defenders, politicians, religious people to show solidarity with the Coca Cola workers and demand of the corporation a prompt agreement that avoids more loss of life and the destruction of the trade union.

To the World Health Organisation, International Labor Organisation, United Nations, World Organisation Against Torture and the Ombudsman in Colombia we ask that they exhort Coca Cola and the Colombian government to immediately find a solution to the conflict and they do not continue attacks on the health and life of the comrades.

We ask you to send protest notes to:

COCA COLA FEMSA
Juan Manuel Arbelaez (Director de Recursos Humanos)
Armando Gomez (Jefe de Relaciones Laborales
Telefonos 2942800 y 4011413 fax. 4011687
agomari@femsa.com.mx y cocacola@hotmail.com

DEFENSORIA DEL PUEBLO
VOLMAR PEREZ (Defensor del Pueblo)
MARTHA LUCIA MELO (Directora Nacional de Quejas)
Telefonos: 3147300 y 5708331

MINISTERIO DE PROTECCION SOCIAL
Dr. DIEGO PALACIO BETANCURT (Ministro)
Dra. LUZ STELLA VEIRA (Jefe de Unidad e Inspeccion)
Telefonos: 3365066 y3410631

MINISTERIO DEL INTERIOR
Dr. SABAS PRETEL DE LA VEGA
Fax. 5602604

SINALTRAINAL, fax 2455325 y al correo electronico
areainternacional@sinaltrainal.org

*** and in the UK and Europe to Jose Nunez Cervera, Director Coca Cola European Public Affairs e-mail jnunezcervera@eur.ko.com and to Martin Norris, Communications Director, Coca-Cola, UK mnorris@eur.ko.com.