Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Update September 13, 2006
Coke's Losses Mounting on Many Fronts!
Contents of Newsletter
- Campus Victories
- Camp in UK, Global Village, boycotts coke
- Largest teachers local in U.S. is Coke-free
- Coca-Cola booted from Nassau County labor picnic and Long Island Fed meetings
- Coke's Deval Patrick: Will he fool Massachusetts voters?
- Coke's brand name loses 1 percent or $525 million of its value
- Carpenters' local bans Coke products
- Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists Re: Attacks on SINALTRAINAL
- Offensive vs. SINALTRAINAL
- Major reports from the campaign
- Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
- Campaign's 'Student Activism' section
- Take actions against Coke!
- Please send photos, reports of events, etc. for the Campaign website
Queensborough Community College/CUNY
In another huge breakthrough at the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation's largest urban public university, Coca-Cola vending machines have all been removed from another of its campuses — Queensborough Community College. This victory was a result of the support the campaign received from the student government and members of the Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents faculty and staff at the university. Our first victory at CUNY happened last spring when student campaigners rallied support from students, faculty and administrators, which led to the removal of Coke products from CUNY Law School. CUNY serves more than 450,000 students on more than 20 campuses. Activities are expanding throughout the CUNY system to make CUNY Coke-free.
Another huge campaign victory led by students was at DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the United States, which after several years of persistent struggle, has also removed Coke products from its campus. We are reprinting the following statement that was released describing their campaign:
"DePaul University joins Coca-Cola Boycott!
"Short anatomy of the recent events of a victory:
"After a more than four-year campaign led by the Activist Student Union (ASU) at DePaul University, I am pleased?to announce that DePaul has joined the Coke Boycott!
"The decision may have been made as early as July, though no official public statement had been made. Last week, though, the Coke vending machines began disappearing according to some of the ASU activists. Congratulations to the broad campaign, which included the school's DePaul Students Against the War, Concerned Black Students, Black Student Union, DePaul Alliance for Latino Empowerment [DALE], United Muslims Moving Ahead, feminists in action!, DePaul Community Service Association, and many other student groups across the campus.
"In short, the campaign was part of an international one that is at its biggest on college campuses in English-speaking countries, called for by Colombia's progressive union SINALTRAINAL after too many of its members and organizers had been executed by death squads in collusion with their employers at sub-contracted Coca-Cola bottling facilities. Luis Adolfo Cardona, an officially designated refugee living in Chicago, was tortured and had his young family threatened with death, and so he became a central resource to the DePaul student activists.
"Bureaucrats who were supposed to be on our side
"The bureaucrats at the campus played an underhanded game. The Fair Business Practices Committee [FBPC] was formed a long time ago because of the struggles of earlier generations of the ASU is made up of student, staff, and faculty representatives. Their most recent meeting, in which the big decision was to [be] made on their recommendation to the administration regarding Coke, went on without members who are delegated to attend from such central student groups as ASU and DALE. The FBPC did this despite these student representatives' explanations that the meeting time was impossible for them to attend.
"The University had successfully stalled the campaign until its huge exclusive contract with Coca-Cola ended this summer. During most of the campaign, a cornerstone of the ASU's activities was providing alternative beverages to a large number of groups and events, including many that were not official sponsors of the campaign, and most of this was done at ASU's expense. They brought in everything from progressive options to Jones Soda, to local drink makers to RC Cola, showing a very wide variety of alternatives.
"This is important. The Coke contract prevented other beverages from being bought or sold on campus, so ASU had to fundraise heavily and carry the entire project out on its own. Simultaneously, the administration and others attempted to hinder the campaign by suggesting that it would be impossible to take out Coke without viable alternatives, which the university could not play with because of the high level of exclusivity of the contract. ASU's very quick, long-term, popular, and successful alternative beverages program was a great (preemptive) means of taking out one of the central potential attacks on the campaign.
"Despite all this high-profile hard work, the Fair Business Practices Committee either failed to give an intelligent alternative or failed to make a strong enough argument for it, and the DePaul University beverages contract has gone over to Pepsi and Gatorade, companies that the campaign was specifically opposed to contracting with. The university bureaucrats who managed the FBPC cannot plead ignorance on this, and should be taken to task for their manipulation and impotence.
"How will DePaul acknowledge this?
"DePaul University has two options regarding its public relations of the decision to not renew the contract. The first one is to take the principled stance that the nation's largest Catholic university is joining the international boycott of Coke, one of the largest businesses in the world. This is the truth, as any of the activists who worked on the campaign for the past few years would tell you, Coke gave some sweet concessions to obtain its exclusive contract, so it can't be a business-based decision. DePaul should be proud of another victory that student activists won in the name of Vincentian (the Catholic tendency of the school) values.
"The other option is to sell-out and try to help Coke save face after the break-up. This can either be done by DePaul publicly distancing itself from the boycott, or by not acknowledging the decision at all. In other words, the decision to not renew the contract could officially become entirely independent of the Coke boycott. Let's hope DePaul takes the principled route and states its decision as a political one.
"How could the FBPC manage to distance DePaul from the boycott? Their official position in the middle of last school year was support for the boycott, which was quickly rolled back. The school's Student Government Association did the same under the presidency of arch-villain Campus Democrats leader Wes Thompson. So now, with inadequate or possibly a total lack of student voice, the FBPC endorses a faux International Labor Organization investigation by a body that includes former corporate officials from Coca-Cola, another 'investigation' (which is not actually called an investigation by the ILO) requested by Coke.
"But this is VICTORY
"But this is victory, and the ASU and the campaign's organizers have every right to celebrate. Possibly more on this later."
2. Camp in UK, Global Village, Boycotts Coke
4500 young people, one third of whom had traveled from more than 40 countries around the world, recently joined in a 10-day camp, from July 29 to August 9, hosted by the Woodcraft Folk, an internationalist and ecology-minded organization for young people in Britain. The main theme of Global Village 2006 was to struggle against global poverty by mobilizing young people to achieve the UN's millennium development goals, which aim to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.
The international committee organizing the camp decided before the event to support SINALTRAINAL's call for a worldwide boycott of Coca-Cola and ban its products from sale at Global Village. The Campaign received an email from the camp in March, stating: "Following a proposal from Derwent District Woodcraft Folk in Sheffield, England, the Steering Committee has declared that Coca-Cola products are not welcome at the GV2006 site."
"By the end of the camp, everyone had heard about the reasons for this decision."
Read about the campaign at the camp.
Here is the March email we received from Global Village:
"Camp Coke Ban
"Following a proposal from Derwent District Woodcraft Folk in Sheffield, the Steering Committee has declared that Coca-Cola products are not welcome at the GV2006 site.
"This includes two elements: The central organisation of the Festival will not supply any Coca-Cola products to villages or through the various cafes and other outlets, and everyone attending the camp is being notified of this decision?Participants are asked not to bring their own Coke products to the camp.
"There may be many people reading this who are wondering why this action is being taken. We are supporting a worldwide labour movement boycott of Coca-Cola because of allegations about the company's violent anti-Trade Union behaviour in Colombia.
"The Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement for children and young people, which aims to develop self confidence and activity in society, with the aim of building a world based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation.
"Through the Global Village programme, young people will explore ways in which such a human-centred, democratic approach to future peace, development, and justice can be constructed by children and young people. "
The Labor Day Parade takes place in New York City the Saturday following Labor Day. This year our community flyer was distributed to union members in numerous contingents marching in the parade, including the PSC/CUNY (college faculty and staff at the City University of New York), Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Teamsters union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
These unions have passed resolutions banning Coke or have made statements supporting the campaign. The Teamsters had a very large contingent made up of hundreds of marchers and dozens of trucks, many distributing juice and cake to the onlookers. A number of Teamster leaders have made statements supporting the campaign. The importance of this union's support is that the Teamsters represent more than 18,000 Coke workers. A number of the marchers thanked our supporters for distributing the flyer.
We were approached by one of the heads of the staff of the UFT and told that the UFT, a local in the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and one of the largest union locals in the United States with more than 100,000 members, eliminated Coke from their offices after NYSUT voted at their convention more than a year ago to remove Coke products from their facilities and events. Later that day, our supporter had a conversation with Randi Weingarten, president of the UFT, and she reiterated that her union had, indeed, banned Coke products from their offices.
The following email was received from UAW Local 259, a long-time Campaign supporter:
"Dear Brothers & Sisters:
"At the 2005 Nassau County [New York State] Labor picnic sponsored by the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Coke products were served?Local 259 UAW, a long-time affiliate with the Long Island Fed, made it a point over the past year to educate local leadership of all affiliated unions about the atrocities associated with Coca-Cola and its Colombian union SINALTRAINAL.
"As the attached email states, the caterer hired for this year's 2006 Long Island Federation of Labor picnic, has assured the Federation that Coca-Cola products will not be served?Local 259 President Bill Pickering received the following email from the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO:
" 'Bill. We have spoken to the caterer and he has assured us that he will only have Pepsi products for this year's picnic. I also asked him for Pepsi products for our meetings, as well. NO MORE COKE!!!' "
Former Coca-Cola Executive Vice President/General Counsel/Corporate Secretary Deval Patrick is running against two other candidates in a primary to win the Democratic Party nomination for the right to run for governor in the general election n November. The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke decided to expose Patrick's dismal record as a corporate powerbroker working for Coca-Cola, Texaco and Ameriquest over the last seven years. We did this to hold Mr. Patrick accountable for not only tolerating and defending policies that led to widespread labor, human rights and environmental abuses, but to also point out that as one of the five highest paid executives at Coke, he was actually involved in making the policies and decisions that led to those abuses.
We also took this action to raise in the consciousness of Massachusetts residents, the deplorable record of Coca-Cola as an irresponsible company. Although Mr. Patrick has taken some lumps, he still has many good people who defend him among those who don't understand his corporate record and who have taken what he says at face value. However, no media outlet or anyone else has defended or had anything good to say about Coke. Coca-Cola has been taking a beating in the media and Deval Patrick was nicknamed by one Boston Globe columnist as "Killer Coke Patrick." Any of you who live in Massachusetts or have any friends or relatives in the state, please try to inform them of what Mr. Patrick is really all about!
For more information on Deval Patrick, go to http://www.killercoke.org/devalpatrickexposed.php
We stated at the beginning of the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke that one of the four key ingredients of our strategy was to mount a threat to the image or brand name of Coca-Cola. Business Week in an article titled: "The 100 Top Brands 2006" just reported that Coca-Cola, the most valued brand name in the world, lost about 1 percent of its value, which translates into a more than $525 million loss in U.S. dollars.
HispanicBusiness.com reported: "The string of woes has already taken some toll on Coke. Its shares have traded flat for the last year, and the value of the Coca-Cola brand slipped 1 percent in the last year, according to the most recent BusinessWeek/Interbrand Annual Ranking of the Top 100 Global Brands [see BusinessWeek.com, 8/7/06, 'The World's Best Brands']."
When companies' brand names become threatened and begin to lose their value, this is of great concern to large investors like pension funds, since large investors are seeking investments that are stable and increase in value over a period of years.
In our previous newsletter we reported that Coca-Cola was removed from the largest social responsibility investment account. The TIAA-CREF Social Choice account divested more than 1,250,000 shares of Coke stock, valued at more than $50 million.
7. Carpenters' local bans Coke products
A major West Coast Carpenters' local union passed a resolution boycotting both Coca-Cola products and SunTrust Banks. We will report more specifically about this in our next newsletter.
In a letter to Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Velez, labor representatives have criticized the attacks against SINALTRAINAL. The letter was signed by trade union leaders and human rights advocates.
"OFFENSIVE AGAINST SINALTRAINAL SHARPENS
"RAID ON UNION HEADQUARTERS
"At approximately 12:15 a.m. on 3rd August 2006, uniformed men who identified themselves as members of SIJIN, the Judicial Police, entered into the headquarters of SINALTRAINAL located at No 35 & 18, 15th Avenue in Bogota city and proceeded to search the union building stating it was a preventative operation for the upcoming 7th August, the inauguration day of president Alvaro Uribe Velez. That morning SIJIN agents were seen filming the outside of the union's headquarters. This raid was carried out without a judicial order [warrant], being classified curiously as an 'act of voluntary registration.'
"TRADE UNION ACTIVIST ASSASSINATED
"CARLOS ARTURO MONTES BONILLA was assassinated at approximately 11:00 p.m. on 17th August 2006. He leaves his partner Maria Elvia Alvarez Delgado and 7 orphaned children. His killing took place near to their home, located to the north of the city of Barrancabermeja.
"CARLOS ARTURO had worked for nearly 30 years in the Infants Club for the workers of ECOPETROL [state oil corporation] and he used to participate in protests against the Coca-Cola multinational and other trade union activities in this oil port.
"He was a member of SINTRAHOCAR and of SINALTRAINAL; a double membership that he had as a legal mechanism to protect the existence of SINALTRAINAL, due to the attacks on it by corporations like Coca-Cola, that have been implementing a criminal policy against the union, by revoking the union's statutes, impeding the membership of executive committee members, lifting trade union conventional rights and activating a judicial plan to block our right of association under the so-called 'abuse of the law thesis'."
LABOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS: 'The Real Thing' in Colombia, By Lesley Gill
"Inside the Real Thing: Corporate profile on Coca-Cola Corporation," Report by the Polaris Institute (Canada)
Read the report in pdf format
Seven Points to Settlement
Read the Seven Points.
"ILRF Director Terry Collingsworth Response to Coke's Denials," July 8, 2004
"University of Michigan Falls Prey to Another Coca-Cola PR Scam," Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
April 17, 2006 Press Release/Report
WB11, New York Feature on the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
On July 11, 2005, WB11, one of New York City area's major television stations aired a special "Fact Finders Report" on the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke called "Coca-Cola Faces Human Rights Violations." Interviewed are Campaign Director Ray Rogers, Hofstra University Campaign Activist Vanessa Cudabac, New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate, New York City Comptroller William Thompson and American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Secretary-Treasurer Terry Stapleton. This excellent feature was watched by millions on WB11 and, as we found out from supporters, watched by others around the world on satellite television.
Play Tape of Show
To get access to the film: Userid: "corporatecampaign" password: "corporatecampaign0895"
The Campaign's Response to Coke's Statements on the WB11 Feature
11. 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.
12. 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:
- Send an e-mail to Coke to protest their abuses in Colombia
- Call Coca-Cola and tell them to stop their worldwide abuses at 1-800-GET-COKE.
- Sign a Petition protesting Coke's abuses
- Join the Boycott at Karmabanque's web site at: www.karmabanque.com
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. (Whenever you email us, please include your phone number and the best times to contact you, including weekends.)