Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update Newsletter June 9, 2004
1. G8 Conference in Georgia
Campaign Director Ray Rogers spoke at a teach-in and rally in Atlanta, Georgia sponsored by the Atlanta G8 Organizing Committee. You can see photos linked from our News section of a rally and demonstration at the World of Coca-Cola pavillion taken by Frank Johnson/wireimage.com at the rally.
Campaign activists Bernardo Issel and Ann Gautheir also traveled to Georgia and spoke about Coke at a rally in Savannah. Bernardo spoke at the rally.
2. UJA-Federation of New York's Dinner Honoring Coke President and COO Steven Heyer
On Monday, June 7, a number of Campaigners met at the Grand Hyatt New York on 42nd Street in Manhattan to distribute Campaign materials to those going to a $1,000 plate UJA-Federation of New York black-tie dinner honoring Coke President and COO Steven Heyer.
We were greeted by dozens of police officers, some dressed as Robocops with machine guns and hotel security guards. Later, one of us was told that they were involved in a drill while another officer told one of us that the police department was worried that our presence would pose a security problem for those involved in the UJA event.
We spent two hours distributing our leaflets to those going into the hotel and passersby and having good conversations with those interested in the Campaign. There is a photo in the Protest Pics section as well as an article from the Forward and the leaflet we distributed entitled "In Honoring Killer Coke's Heyer, UJA-Fed Can't Sink Much Lower."
3. Nico Pitney's Letters About the UJA
Nico Pitney is the author of www.PriorityWire.org, a website devoted to globalization, corporate power, and sustainable development. He recently sent a letter to numerous newspapers about the UJA-Federation of New York's decision to honor Coke President and COO Steven Heyer. Below is the letter, Bad Coke, as printed in New York's Daily News. Following is the letter as originally sent to the newspapers. A similar letter was also sent to the UJA-Federation of New York.
Manhattan: It is disappointing and deeply shameful that the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York is honoring Coca-Cola CEO Steven Heyer. Multiple investigations and fact-finding missions have documented evidence of Coca-Cola's complicity or direct involvement in gross human rights violations at its contracted bottling plants in Colombia.
Given the mission statement of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, which includes the phrases "caring for those in need" and "rescuing those in harm's way," it is particularly disappointing that they are planning to honor Coca-Cola Company CEO Steven Heyer on June 7.
Multiple investigations and fact-finding missions have documented evidence of Coca-Cola's complicity or direct involvement in gross human rights violations at their contracted bottling plants in Colombia. A January 2004 delegation led by New York City Councilman Hiram Monserrate found it "indisputable that Coke workers have been systematically persecuted for their union activity." The delegation cited "179 major human-rights violations of company workers, including nine murders and the abduction and torture of workers' relatives."
This is, of course, a sensitive and complex issue; yet it is apparent that legitimate evidence of serious crimes has been documented, and that Mr. Heyer's company may be implicated. Until this matter is resolved, UJA-Federation's decision to honor Mr. Heyer and his company should be viewed by citizens of conscience as deeply shameful and utterly contrary to the organization's stated principles. For more information, I urge you to visit the website of the "Stop Killer Coke" campaign - http://www.killercoke.org - which is run by respected labor activist Ray Rogers and endorsed by several reputable labor groups.
Letters to the Editor is usually an often-read section of the newspaper. Try to get letters published in your local papers and send us copies.
4. Macalester College in Minnesota
Macalester College in Minnesota is the fourth college in the U.S. to officially ask the Workers Rights Consortium to investigate Coke's behavior in Colombia. The other three are Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and DePaul and Loyola universities in Chicago. Workday Minnesota adapted the following articles from The Union Advocate, the official newspaper of the St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly
May 11, 2004: "Students ask Macalester to throw Coke off campus"
June 6, 2004: "Macalester seeks investigation of Coca-Cola in Colombia"
5. University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke sent a letter to the University of Massachusetts Amherst on May 13th to three top administrators and to several thousand faculty, staff and administrators as well as to campus clergy at the university. The letter to Chancellor Joseph V. Lombardi can be seen in our News section.
Read the letter.
Please join us in urging Chancellor John V. Lombardi not to renew Coca-Cola's contract. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
The India Resource Center also sent a letter to the same community on June 8th. Its letter can be seen in our News section.
Read the letter.
6. Coke's Competitors
We have received many requests for information about alternatives to Coca-Cola. We have a document about Coke's competitors in our News section that will supply that information. In addition, Coop America has a site, The Responsible Shopper, that reflects research into the positives and negatives of many major corporations including Coke, Pepsico and Cadbury Schweppes.
7. UAW Local 259
UAW Local 259 headquarted in New York City has joined the list of unions to ban the sale and distribution of Coca-Cola products in their union office and at their functions. A Colombian member of the local was so moved by the union's presentation and our Campaign materials that Local 259 had distributed, that he took the floor and with tears in his eyes made a passionate statement about how proud he was to be a member of Local 259 because of their position in support of Colombian Coca-Cola workers. In the Spring edition of the Unity News, in an article entitled, "Coca-Cola: The Real Killer," Local 259 said: "Pick another cola. They're the 'real thing' for a good union soul."