Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Update July 17, 2006
Coke's Losses & Cover-ups Mounting - Campaign Growing
Contents of Newsletter
- German Student Movement to Ban Coke Taking Off
- 275,000-member SEIU Local 1199 Healthcare Workers Removes Coke Machine and Passes Resolution to Boycott Coke
- Jazz Police Lists Jazz Events at "Dizzy's Club," but will not refer to "Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola"
- Marilyn's Alfresco Kiosk in Santa Cruz, CA, Won't Sell Coke
- Please Help Expose Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate Deval Patrick's Support and Cover-up of Corporate Abuse and Crimes
- Protest at the TIAA-CREF Annual Meeting in New York City on July 18
- "Coca-Cola: Classic Union Buster" Cover Story, Political Affairs, July 2006
- Coke Zero Sticker
- Contributions to Bush by Coke Execs
- "Unofficial History of Coke" Animation
- A Football Game Between "Coke Managers" & "Unionists" in Switzerland
- Coca-Cola faces Big Problems in Japan: Campaign Seeks Help in Japan
- Coke Charged with Covering Up Harmful Substances in its Beverages in Korea & India
- India's Fight Continues Against Coke
- War on Want's Coke Campaign Site
- Coca-Cola, Uzbekistan & Mr. Karimov
- Drink, Choose...Live? The Truth behind Coca-Cola Company's "Drink, Choose, Live" Promotion, a campaign of Julia Havey
- Poem by Dan North
- Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
- Campaign's 'Campus Activism' Section
- Take Actions Against Coke!
- Please send photos, reports of events, etc. for the Campaign website
Student parliaments at four universities in Germany: the University of Cologne, University of Bonn, University of Wuppertal and the University of Arts have vowed to wage campaigns to ban the sale and marketing of Coca-Cola products from their campuses. Momentum is building to wage similar campaigns on numerous other campuses throughout Germany.
At the University of Arts in Berlin, the student parliament overwhelmingly voted on July 12th to take such action. The vote was 10 to 1 with 4 abstentions. The vote was taken just six days after student leaders Pablo Hermann and Ringo Junigk organized the Kola Konferenz held before a packed audience. The event was attended by The Coca-Cola Company's spokesperson Pablo Largacha and company representatives in Germany. Coke's representatives left early when they realized some members of the audience were well-informed and the company's stream of empty public relations rhetoric was not going to work.
Poster for July 6 Kola Konferenz in Berlin
For example, Largacha, trying to sidestep issues of human rights abuses at Coke's bottling plants in Colombia, said Coca-Cola had set up a $10 million fund in Colombia to help communities. Members of the audience asked, but what have you done to help the workers at your bottling plants who continue to be victimized? Such questions were unsettling to Largacha. After spewing his empty rhetoric and lies, he found himself in an embarrassing and untenable position and wanted to leave the conference as quickly as possible.
In an effort to undermine the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke's effectiveness, Coca-Cola announced that it was giving the $10 million to the Colombian Foundation for Education and Opportunity one week prior to the 2005 shareholders' meeting. This was to serve two purposes — to create good public relations and to give the impression that it was doing something positive in Colombia. This was done instead of addressing the serious human rights abuses in the bottling plants. The second reason was to buy off the head of CUT (labor federation in Colombia) by putting him on the board of the foundation.
Germany is the sixth largest market for Coca-Cola and thus extremely important to the company's maintaining growth and profitability. According to a May 2005 Business Week article, Germany accounts for about 3% of worldwide sales and 6% of total operating profits. "Coke still dominates the German soft-drink market, with 55% of retail Cola sales in 2004. But that was down from 62% in mid-2003.
Germans have many reasons to rebuke Coke since the company has laid off thousands of workers at the same time top officers of the company were rewarding themselves with hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses and stock options.
Starting in January 2005, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke received widespread coverage throughout Germany in the national and statewide print, radio and television media outlets. When Germany's Der Spiegel magazine did a story in January covering the campaign's successes on college and university campuses in the U.S., the magazine received 100,000 hits online on the article in the first four hours of its publication.
We continue to receive a barrage of communications from Germany of persons and groups ready to help. It's a terrific boost for our brothers and sisters worldwide fighting for justice from Coca-Cola.
Be sure to look at the website of the German Coca-Cola-Kampagne Kilumbian.
This photo of a damaged Cola-Cola banner was taken in front of the University of Art in Berlin (UDK).
Coca-Cola sponsors the University. The students of the University of Art support our campaign.
Unknown persons destroyed the Coca-Cola banner.
A resolution "In Solidarity with Colombian Workers and Against Killer Coke" was passed by the 275,000 member SEIU Local 1199 (United Healthcare Workers East) delegate assembly without opposition. The resolution was submitted by 58 members. It must now go the Executive Council for approval and implementation. We were told in an email that "They have already removed the Coke machine from the basement and they don't order Coke for in-house events."
Some months ago, we found a website, "Jazz Police," at: http://www.jazzpolice.com, that services jazz fans with CD reviews, news and listings of events of interest. Jazz Police highlighted an excellent Latin Jazz series at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York's Lincoln Center.
We sent a flyer to Jazz Police that we had produced and distributed for the opening of the club along with a description of the labor, human rights and environmental abuses that Coke is committing throughout the world. The flyer pointed to the contradiction between jazz, a music of freedom, and these abuses.
Dan Berryman, the publisher of Jazz Police, replied to our email by agreeing to eliminate the reference to "Coca-Cola" in the name of the club, calling it "Dizzy's Club" from here on in their listings and news items. Berryman wrote:
"...It was difficult because so many jazz events and venues depend on corporate sponsors. However, Coca-Cola is involved is such egregious human rights abuses and they forced their name and logo to be associated with a jazz icon. It felt like we were giving Coca-Cola free advertising when we listed events at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. We could not stop listing significant jazz performances, so dropping the name from future articles and listings and simply calling the venue 'Dizzy's seemed like the avenue for us to continue to keep jazz fans informed and keep our conscience clear."
The Campaign received an e-mail from Marilyn:
"I have a small food kiosk, Alfresco, and I serve Healthy Fast Food. Potential customers are always asking me for Coke. I tell them I don't sell it, but I would like to hand them a small flyer stating why." We sent a "Community flyer" to Marilyn whose kiosk is in Santa Cruz, California.
"My web site is alfrescosantacruz.com. It has picture of the Kiosk and the menu. I am a Vegan & Vegetarian outdoor kiosk. Almost all of the food is homemade by me. I also drive an all-electric car for my shopping and use compostable serveware like cups made from corn, spoons & Forks from potato and soup bowls from sugarcane."
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke will soon have a leaflet available for mass distribution highlighting Patrick's representtion of Coca-Cola and other corporations against the public interest. We will also have a section devoted to Mr. Patrick on our website at www.KillerCoke.org.
If Deval Patrick is elected, it will just be Big Business and Politics as usual. Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Director Ray Rogers has stated: "No top executive of Coca-Cola should ever serve in any position of public trust. While working for Coca-Cola, Deval Patrick was paid millions of dollars to hide and coverup the crimes and immoral behavior of Coca-Cola and to keep his mouth shut." Please contact us at info@KillerCoke.org or at 718-852-2808 if you would like to help distribute leaflets to expose Deval Patrick's real record.
Below is a section from our June 8 newsletter regarding Deval Patrick's record:
Does Massachusetts Want Big Oil's and Coke's Deval Patrick as Governor?
The Coca-Cola Company's former Executive Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel Deval Patrick is the leading Democratic candidate to win his party's nomination for governor of Massachusetts. Two other Democrats, Chris Gabrieli and Tom Reilly, are also running in the Sept. 9 primary.
Patrick recently disclosed the sources of his more than $3.8 million 2005 income: Coca-Cola, Ameriquest, Reebok and investments in "major oil companies like Exxon Mobil and Marathon Oil, and giant pharmaceutical firms like Merck and Pfizer." Most of the money came from The Coca-Cola Co., a total of more than $3.1 million.
Deval Patrick was paid millions of dollars by Coke to help cover up its crimes and unethical behavior. In fact, the Boston Herald reported on April 8, 2005, "Under the deal revealed yesterday, Patrick cannot sue the company [The Coca-Cola Co.] for any reason and has promised not to...reveal any company secrets through Jan. 1, 2007."
For years, Patrick has been a major player for some of America's most corrupt and greediest corporations. At both Texaco and Coca-Cola, it was Patrick's job to oppose any use of the Alien Tort Claims Act, a federal statute enacted in 1789 that allows foreigners to sue in U.S. courts for violation of fundamental human rights and crimes against humanity. The Boston Herald reported (8/29/99): "As Texaco fights plaintiffs' charges that it inflicted 'cultural genocide' in Ecuador, the company in the past year hired a new general counsel well-known in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick of Milton, a former chief of the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division. He contends the plaintiffs shouldn't have access to U.S. courts, only those in Ecuador - a move [Cristobal] Bonifaz says would effectively kill the lawsuit. Patrick declined an interview request."
Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Fund, said on Oct. 2, 2003: "Led by Deval Patrick, the Coca-Cola legal team has reached new lows in the so-called corporate responsibility movement. Unable to dispute the facts, Coca-Cola is pursuing a corporate shell game defense. The company claims that the people who were murdered and tortured under the Coca-Cola signs in the Coca-Cola bottling plants that send profits back to Coca-Cola in Atlanta have no recourse against Coca-Cola and should instead subject themselves to further risk of violence by seeking justice in Colombia. Mr. Patrick's team seeks to maintain an incredibly unjust, uncivil and unfair system that allows companies to enjoy the best of both worlds in their overseas operations, by profiting from human rights violations while limiting liability to a local entity that is a mere facilitator for the parent company's operations. This represents a grave threat to innocent workers worldwide."
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke asserts that no top executive of Coca-Cola should be allowed to hold any position of public trust, especially as governor of a state, due to the company's labor, human rights and environmental abuses and its history of corrupt business practices.
Will Democratic voters in Massachusetts allow their party to nominate a corporate lawyer who has been complicit in covering up widespread labor, human rights violations and environmental crimes?
Could you or your organization help us expose Deval Patrick's and Coke's deplorable record to Massachusetts' voters? Please contact us at info@KillerCoke.org or (718) 852-2808.
"Deval Patrick Made $3.8 Million In 2005," CBS4Boston, Jon Keller
TIAA-CREF Annual Meeting on July 18
SHAREHOLDERS, ACTIVISTS DEMAND TIAA-CREF ACCOUNTABILITY ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY — "REFORM THEM OR DUMP THEM"
What: Demonstration outside TIAA-CREF corporate headquarters-and raising of voices inside-to urge the fund to "Reform Them or Dump Them" (Costco, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Nike, Chevron, Philip Morris/Altria, and a no-reinvestment pledge re World Bank bonds). Instead, CREF should invest in life-promoting ventures in its socially responsible fund and otherwise.
When: Tuesday, July 18, 8-9:30 AM. (CREF meeting starts at 9 AM.)
Where: TIAA-CREF, 730 Third Avenue (between 45th and 46th), Manhattan, NYC
Why: A coalition of international human rights, environmental and corporate accountability advocacy groups will demonstrate against TIAA-CREF's policies. It will urge the fund to use its considerable shareholder power to influence corporations involved in human rights violations and/or public health/community/environmental degradation. It will call for investment in community development and social venture capital in its Social Choice Account and otherwise. (Learn more at www.MakeTIAA-CREFethical.org.)
"The 'Coke side of life' is not paradise for thousands of Coke workers or the many communities forced to give up land and water resources to the multinational giant...Living on 'the Coke side of life' is dangerous for Coke workers and pure fantasy for consumers."
Political Affairs magazine published an excellent cover story by Joel Wendland in July 2006 starting and ending with the Company's latest advertising slogan, "The Coke Side of Life," showing the reality of how Coke devastates the lives of many Coke workers and communities in which Coke plants operate. Wendland also writes extensively about the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke in his article.
We are seeking artists from different countries who can create stickers, illustrations and slogans exposing Coke's abuses like the example below, so that we can spread them around for downloading and printing. Please supply an English translation if done in another language. Send creations to info@KillerCoke.org
We adapted this from an idea sent us by Paul Lewis of England.
A message from a faculty supporter at Georgetown University:
"Just fyi: 100% of the top Coke executives who made campaign contributions in 2004 gave them to Bush. 100%. Chairman Douglas Daft, President John Alm, CFO Gary Fayard, COO Stephen Heyer, President of Retail Donald Knauss, VP for Worldwide Communications Clyde Tuggle, etc. And they all gave the maximum: $2,000 each (and often $2,000 from their spouse, including for all those I just listed). Then Coke wonders why it's brand-image is suffering..." [Many of the above-mentioned executives are now gone, but replaced with others holding similar values.]
The Campaign was contacted by Chris Smith, "a creative writer/producer on documentary and compilation programmes for large audience distribution." He sent us a link to his Animated Unofficial History of Coke.
Conscience UK, "Conscience Cola: Unofficial History of Coke," Animation By Chris Smith (To see animation, click on graphic below.)
We received photos of this game from European Campaign activists: "A group of students on the 7th June organised a football game in Bern, Switzerland. The [simulated] match was between the union and Coca-Cola. The Coke managers had their hands covered in blood while the workers wore dirty and torn clothes."
A "Coke manager" with bloody hands
See more photos
According to an article, "Coke Tries to Pop Back in Vital Japan Market" by Chad Terhune in the July 11 edition of the Wall Street Journal, "weak sales of canned coffee and bottled teas could hurt Coca-Cola's share price. Japan, a hugely important market for the company, generates "roughly 20% of the company's annual profit," which is largely driven by its Georgia Emerald Mountain Blend and Mocha Kilimanjaro coffees, popular drinks found in vending machines throughout Japan.
On July 13, The Wall Street Journal reported That The Coca-Cola Co. named Dan Sayre president of its Japanese unit, effective Aug. 1. Sayre has been president of Coke's Latin America Center division (!) since 2003.
The article points out that a marketing campaign for the coffee beverage "flopped" in May and that The Coca-Cola Company had to recall "more than two million bottles of Coca-Cola and other drinks contaminated with iron powder in Japan."
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke is seeking allies at colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools and in labor unions in Japan to help spread the word about banning Coke sales and distribution until Coke makes amends to those injured by its labor, human rights and environmental abuses. Please email us at: info@KillerCoke.org. Include your phone number and the best times to reach you.
The Coca-Cola Co. is currently under fire in South Korea for efforts to conceal from Korean consumers a recent poisoning incident involving its soft drinks. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Sometime back, we reported that on June 19, 2001, Eric Meissner, a 30-year employee at the Auburndale, Florida plant that produces Coke's Minute Maid and Hi-C products, was fired after alerting a U.S. Agriculture Dept. inspector about a dead rat found under an orange juice capping machine. The president of Meissner's Teamsters local commented, "(Coke) would rather fire a worker with 30 years experience than address serious product safety concerns."
The Korea Times, "Coca-Cola Under Fire for Hiding Poisoning Incident: US Company's Crisis-Management Skills in Doubt"
"Coca-Cola Korea Bottling Company is under fire over its attempt to hide a recent poisoning incident involving its soft drinks from Korean consumers...
"After drinking a bottle of Coke in a restaurant, a 25-year-old man fell seriously ill and was taken to a nearby hospital on Sunday.
"With the latest episode, the soft drink company is being questioned over its corporate responsibility toward people's health value.
"It is also facing harsh criticism especially from consumers for its secret and belated countermeasures.
"The company had in fact carried on its crisis management by swiftly exchanging products at convenience stores in South and North Cholla Provinces where Coke officials believed poisoned drink products could be...
"But they did it in a quiet manner without a single sign of warning to the consumers..."
Read Full Article
Coca-Cola is also under fire in India for trying to cover up the presence of harmful substances in its beverages:
The Times of India, "It's often Coke with bad elements," Dinesh Narayanan, May 2, 2006
"MUMBAI: MNC soft drinks maker Coca-Cola regularly pays off its vendors to keep quiet when substances such as tobacco pouches, dirt and fungus show up in its beverages, classified documents of the company's marketing arm reveal."
"The December 2005 memo lists 17 shops and restaurants across the city that returned soft drinks such as Coke, Limca, Thums Up and Maaza because they contained stuff like dirt, thermocol, tobacco pouches, fungus and, on at least one occasion, a blade. The company compensated them with several crates of products worth thousands of rupees.
"An Andheri restaurateur in the western suburbs who has had to face angry customers about four times last year over contaminated bottles said that Coca-Cola representatives were quite insensitive to the issue...
"Coca-Cola, whose bottling plant in Plachimada village in Kerala is facing charges of polluting local water sources, admits that there were some instances when it had to replace contaminated products. However, it is not willing to admit error."
Read Full Article
India Resource Center, "Villagers End Hunger Strike Against Coca-Cola: Get Commitments from Government, Place Deadline for Action, July 3, 2006
OneWorld South Asia, "Anti-Coca Cola movement by Mehndiganj villagers continues," By Sandeep Pandey, Mahesh Bhatt, Anand Patwardhan,
June 12, 2006
UK's War on Want published a terrific report in March, "Coca-Cola: The Alternative Report" on Coke's worldwide abuses. This report has been on our site in both English and Spanish. Recently, War on Want set up a web page with links to:
- An E-Card to Coke
- World Cup protests
- Olympics protests
- The Alternative Report in English and Spanish
- A World Water Forum Blog.
- Click on here to see that site
The site's introduction states: "Coca-Cola's dominance of the global soft drinks market has come at huge cost to local communities, the environment and its own workforce, according to a new report published on 20th March 2006 by campaigns group War on Want. The new evidence appeared in the week that the Coca-Cola sponsored international World Cup tour came to London."
WHAT IS WAR ON WANT? From War on Want's Website:
"War on Want fights poverty in developing countries in partnership and solidarity with people affected by globalisation. We campaign for workers' rights and against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice.
"War on Want knows that poverty is political. The decisions of politicians in rich countries can mean life or death for people in developing countries. We have the power to reshape the global landscape - to ensure that people across the world can live in justice and peace.
"War on Want works with some of the bravest and most inspiring groups in the world. In rural communities, in factories and sweatshops, in conflict zones and on the margins of society, we work with people fighting for real, lasting change. "
Financial Times, "Bottled up: Why Coke Stands Accused of Being Too Cosy with the Karimovs," By Edward Alden & Andrew Ward, June 14, 2006
"At the heart of the case is the question of what obligations a multinational faces in operating in countries where human rights abuses are common and there are few legal protections. The issue of what Coke should or should not have done in Uzbekistan will also focus fresh scrutiny on the company's conduct around the world and provide new ammunition for its numerous critics.
"Coke is already facing a US lawsuit brought by labour rights groups over allegations that it turned a blind eye to the murder of union leaders at its bottling plants in Colombia by rightwing paramilitaries. A similar case was filed last year in Turkey involving the alleged intimidation and beating of union activists at a Coke bottling plant."
MosNews, "Coca-Cola Accused of Conspiring with Uzbek Government," June 15, 2006
Read Article in CorpWatch
Julia Havey is an author of books about weight loss. She is taking Coke on for its deceptive and dangerous advertising.
News Tribune, "St. Louis weight-loss instructor sues Coke over promotion," By Christopher Leonard, July 14, 2006
"[Julia Havey's attorney] Watkins said he also would drop the suit if one of Coca-Cola's directors let his child drink 151 soft drinks on television."
The Common Voice, "Is Coca Cola guilty of deceptive advertising and violation of the FTC's contest rules?" By Julia Havey, June 24, 2006
The fog in the daylight
In the searing Barranquilla daylight
Hounding paramilitaries kill in the plant
Despite the warnings from mankind
The murderous artillery still sounds
With its intimidating "Power! Control!" chant.
Storming through, above any law
Abducting workers, sinaltrainal leaders or child
With such sickening panic
Looking at the last seconds of life
As the anguish of loss is compiled.
I contemplate over motives
Gripping firmly onto a soft drink can
In how such brutality could happen
Envisaging the negativity that leaks the walls
And a body of a shattered man.
As corruption like this is an intense fog
Over this Colombian blood tainted abyss
Tell me how can this ever be ethical?!
When the one's that can be protecting them
Maybe too busy drafting up the hit lists!
But no one should ever work under these conditions
Feeling scooped hollow by any human right
That's why we need to cease this fog
Which like a constricting bottle cap seals over
In the searing Barranquilla daylight.
(c) Daniel North
19. Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
When we invited supporters to contact us to "customize a leaflet for your campus, union or group," the response was terrific! We immediately began getting emails asking us to produce customized leaflets for numerous colleges, universities, high schools and middle schools. We put them up as soon as we could. We have leaflets for Australia, Canada, Colombia (in Spanish), India, Ireland, the UK and the US.
Because the demand for flyers was so strong, it took up too much server space. We decided to leave the list online with the schools listed for which we have customized flyers. If you need a copy of your flyer, please contact us and we'll email it to you as soon as possible.
If your school, union or group is not listed and you would like a customized leaflet, please contact us at info@KillerCoke.org. Please state the name of your school and the name of the sponsoring group, if any, and a local email address, if you want us to put them into the flyer. If you want the flyer for a group, please state the name of the group and an email address. Also, whenever you email the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, please include a phone number, if possible, in case we have a need to talk with you.
20. Campaign's 'Campus Activism' Section
Many students interested in launching a Campaign to Stop Killer Coke at their schools and colleges have been contacting us. We recommend that students begin by checking out the two organizing packets in our "Campus Activism" section:
- "Unthinkable! Undrinkable! A Campus Campaign Overview," a USAS Campus Guide
- Campus Activism Packet Campaign for a Coca-Cola Free Campus
- Schools Active in the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
In addition, there are numerous reports, resolutions and articles in the "Campus Activism" section that can be useful.
- Call Coca-Cola and tell them to stop their worldwide abuses at 1-800-GET-COKE.
- Sign a Petition protesting Coke's abuses: Sign the Petition
- Join the Boycott at Karmabanque's web site at: www.karmabanque.com
- Send an E-Card to Coca-Cola
Please send photos, reports of events, and if you are in a school, union or organization that has banned Coke products, please send us the resolution or a description of how the decision was made. We would like the Campaign website to be up-to-date and to share the information via our newsletter.