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Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update June 29, 2004

1. SEIU Resolution in support of the Campaign

The original resolution was submitted to the SEIU Convention for consideration by Local 1199P, in Pennsylvania. As you may know, SEIU is now the largest union in the U.S., with over 1.5 million members. The next step for those of us in SEIU is to get the word out to our Local unions and urge them to actively participate in the campaign!

(Below are excerpts from the resolution. When we receive the entire resolution, it will be posted on our website.)

"WHEREAS, Some multinational corporations from the U.S. and elsewhere have taken advantage of an environment in which paramilitaries and other illegal armed groups attack unions attempting to organize in and negotiate with said companies. This includes Coca Cola which is one of the worst corporate supporters of he paramilitary death squads, which directly resulted in the murder of nine members of SINALTRAINAL, the food and beverage union at Coca Cola; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Service Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC support our Colombian brothers and sisters, call for a change in U.S. policy in Colombia and actively lobby for changes in U.S. policy toward Colombia that would reduce U.S. aid to the Colombian military and reduce U.S. military involvement in Colombia and towards this goal we will do the following:

  1. Participate in the world-wide campaign demanding that the Colombian government provide protection for trade union members and their leadership from the deadly attacks; and
  2. Provide a leadership role in the AFL-CIO to encourage participation in the world-wide campaign demanding that the Colombian government provide protection for trade union members and their leadership from deadly attacks; and
  3. Work to establish ties with Colombian Trade Unions and provide support to the Colombian Labor Movement; and
  4. Support the world-wide call to boycott Coca-Cola and work to win broad AFL-CIO support for the campaign against killer Coke, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the SEIU, AFL-CIO, CLC work with the Congress to ensure that U.S. policy toward Colombia

  1. Maintains and enforces existing human rights conditions on U.S. assistance; and
  2. Requires the Colombian government to take action to sever links between its military forces and the paramilitaries, to arrest and prosecute the killers of union members and other civilians, and to provide enhanced protection for defenders of labor and human rights by withholding aid unless significant progress is made on these issues; and
  3. Provides assistance for humanitarian purposes, for the development and reactivation of the Colombian economy; strengthening of the rule of law, and an end to impunity; and
  4. Supports efforts to achieve a negotiated solution to the military conflict; and
  5. Requires that any trade agreement with Colombia contain within it both protections for workers rights as outlined in the 1998 ILO Declaration of fundamental Principles and rights at work and mechanisms to sanction the failure to protect these rights; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the SEIU, AFL-CIO, CLC engage in sustained actions at the national and international level in support of the objectives of this resolution. "

2. Demo on July 1 against Coke's sign in Times Square, New York City

We don't have a time yet for the Times Square demonstration. When we do, we will send out an e-mail.

If there are any events that you wold like posted, send us the details and we'll put them in our newsletter.

3. Salem State College Signs with Pepsi

Salem State College in Massachusetts will be signing a 10-year, exclusive pouring rights contract with Pepsi Cola, NOT Coke. Salem State recently sent us photos of a protest against Coke they had organized, photos of which can be found in our Protest Pics section.

4. Gill-Montague, MA Votes Against Coke

The Gill-Montague (Massachusetts) School Committee voted to not accept Coke's offer of a new scoreboard for the high school athletic field in exchange for a 7-year contract to sell Coke products in the schools. Gill and Montague are two small towns (populations of about 1,000 and 8,000) in Western Massachusetts. The school district is composed of several elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 1 high school.

5. CAW Local 707, Canada, Endorses Petition Drive

On June 27, 2004, the membership of Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 707 endorsed the Killer Coke letter/petition drive to protest Coca-Cola's human rights abuses at Coke's Colombian bottling plants. CAW local 707 represents 4,600 Ford Motor Company workers in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. The CAW is the largest private sector union in Canada, representing 270,000 workers, including 3,000 Coca-Cola workers.

6. American Bar Assn. Letter to Coke

Chair Stephen D. Gordon and Chair-Elect Howard Shapiro of the Section of Labor & Employment Law of the American Bar Assn. (ABA) sent a letter to The Coca-Cola Company's Employment Counsel Linda Z. Spencer on June 24, 2004 stating in part: "…we want to re-affirm that the Coca-Cola Company continues to condemn acts of violence against workers and union members in Colombia, that your Company is taking reasonable steps to protect Coca-Cola employees who are exposed to violence or intimidation by violent factions within the region, and that your Company supports the activities of unions and other organizations that are dedicated to the development of a safe and productive working environment for all Colombian citizens. We note that this position is consistent with the specific expressions of the Coca-Cola Company on its web site addressing this matter."

7. Greens/Green Party USA Support the Campaign

"At our June 21-22 Congress, the Greens/Green Party USA voted unanimously to join you, students, unions, international boycotts and others in "Boycott Coca-Cola activities."

8. Call to Schools for Conference Call

There will be a conference call for schools working on the Boycott Coke campaign on Wednesday, June 30th at 9pm EDT. The call number is 1-866-222-0917 and the passcode is 805 978.

9. Close the SOA

We are only four weeks away from a possible VOTE IN THE HOUSE through an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that would cut funds to the institution. We still need to reach our goal of at least 150 co-sponsors before this can happen. (For more info on the current strategy, visit http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=780)

TOOLS

— Resources (like sample letters and phone scripts, tips, and ideas for other tactics): http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=96&cat=4

— Flyer to use to recruit others to take action: http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=799

— Talking Points: http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=115

— New (Spring 2004) Research: http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=76

— SOA-WHINSEC Comparison in Brief: http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=109

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Below is a list of suggested actions, but don't be afraid to be creative!

* * THIS WEEK: * *

— Write a letter. If you can, hand written, personal letters are very influential. Mail and/or fax a copy to the district and DC office. Then ask other people to write letters.

— Make an appointment(s) to visit your Rep. (or their staff if necessary) in the district office.

— Recruit other people to go on the lobby visit with you. A broad coalition of different voices-i.e. local religious leaders, labor union members, students, professors, local politicians, members/leaders of other organizations, etc-is stronger than yours alone.

* * JUNE 28 - JULY 2 * *

— Make sure you have ready for your meeting, including researching their voting record and preparing your talking points.

— If you were not able to schedule an appointment, try stopping by to see if someone can meet with you anyways.

— Call the Representative's DC office and talk to the foreign policy staffer. When the Members are gone, the staffers usually have more time to talk. Capitol Switch Board: 202-225-3121.

* * JULY 5 - 9 * *

— Send a thank you letter if you met with someone. Make sure to reemphasize key points and provide any information you said you would. -Fill out lobby report form after your visit or any lengthy phone call with a Congressional staff person. http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=407

* * JULY 12 - 16 * *

— Follow-up! Offices are very busy, so it is our responsibility to stay active and keep working to get what you want whether it be a returned phone call, your appointment, co-sponsorship and the commitment to vote.

* * JULY 19 - 23 * *

— Look out for urgent emails from SOA Watch announcing the day of the vote so we can flood the office with calls.

If you need more information, check out all the resources in the Legislative Action Center; and feel free to call the SOAW office at 202-234-3440 or email us at info@soaw.org.

10. Citizens Trade Campaign: Agreement with Colombia Despite Notorious Human Rights Atrocities

Citizens Trade Campaign
P.O. Box 77077 Washington, D.C. 20013 (202) 778-3320 ph (202) 293-5308
www.citizenstrade.org

For Immediate Release: June 18, 2004

Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-778-3311

U.S. Pursues Trade Agreement with Colombia Despite Notorious Human Rights Atrocities

World Leader in Murder, Repression of Labor Activists Would be Partner to Andean "Free Trade" Deal

WASHINGTON - Labor unions and fair trade advocates condemned the Bush Administration's secretive negotiations this week with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to create a "U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement." The U.S. is negotiating the possible trade deal despite Colombia's notorious record of human rights abuses, which include the murders of 464 trade unionists in the past three years. The Colombian government's complicity in human rights abuses has been underlined by recent statements by President Alvaro Uribe Velez that accused human rights observers of "providing cover for terrorists" and threatening to "imprison" and "deport" human rights workers from certain areas.

The trade negotiations, which have been low profile, are scheduled to wrap up today in Atlanta, Georgia.

The rampant repression of trade unions and other labor rights activists in Colombia will almost certainly be a significant obstacle to passing the trade agreement in the U.S. Congress. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions estimates that 95 Colombian trade unionists were murdered in 2003 and 295 received death threats - making Colombia "the most hostile country in the world for trade unionists." 13 human rights defenders were also murdered in Colombia last year, and at the end of May, Uribe threatened American and international human rights workers in the Colombian region of Uraba with imprisonment and expulsion. Regarding the government's complicity in rights violations, Human Rights Watch states, "President Alvaro Uribe has failed to break continuing ties between units of the security forces and paramilitaries and has failed to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and serious human rights violations are brought to justice."

"Military and economic power in Colombia silences our communities' demands for rights," says Luis Adolfo Cardona, a leader of the Colombian food and beverage union SINALTRAINAL. "Our union and labor rights have been stolen in order to benefit the rich and corrupt - with the support of the corrupt president of our country."

"That the Administration would even consider a trade agreement with Colombia right now is completely shameful," said Bill Klinefelter, Political and Legislative Director of the United Steelworkers of America. "These negotiations demonstrate that the Administration has absolutely no regard for labor and human rights whatsoever."

"A trade agreement of this nature with Colombia would be a new low," remarked Patricia Campos, Legislative Director for UNITE!. "The Administration will have a hard time convincing members of Congress that any meaningful protections for workers can exist in a country where unions' leaders are killed constantly."

The Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) is a national coalition of environmental, labor, consumer, family farm, religious, and other civil society groups founded in 1992 during the fight over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). CTC members include Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment; Americans for Democratic Action; Communications Workers of America; Defenders of Wildlife; Friends of the Earth; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the National Family Farm Coalition; Public Citizen; UNITE!; United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society; the United Steelworkers of America; United Students Against Sweatshops; and Western Organization of Resource Councils, as well as regional, state, and city- based coalitions, organizations, and individual activists throughout the United States.