Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Update September 22, 2006
Coke's Losses Continue Mounting on Campus and in Labor
CONTENTS OF NEWSLETTER
- More Campus Victories
- World Health Organization of the United Nations Rebukes Coca-Cola India
- Carpenters Pass Resolution to Ban Coke and Boycott SunTrust Banks
- Coke Suffering Big Losses in Michigan
- Killer Coke Commercial
- Major Reports From the Campaign
- 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
Worldwide campus activity is growing strong again this school year. We expect to score more victories on campuses throughout Europe, Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere. Our September 13 newsletter announced campus victories at Queensborough Community College/City University of New York and DePaul University in Illinois. We have been notified that two more colleges/universities have removed Coke products from campus:
The Campaign received the following email from students at Manhattanville College, a college of 2,600 students in Purchase, N.Y. "Last semester, we campaigned vigorously to kick Killer Coke off campus. We had an event where Ray Rogers came and spoke. I just wanted to let you all know that we have successfully kicked Killer Coke off the campus!! We came back this semester to the pleasant surprise. Thanks for everything that you have done and power to the campaign."
From our May 9, 2006 Newsletter:
"Campaign Director Ray Rogers spoke at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York where students have been actively working on the Killer Coke campaign and spent much of this semester educating other members of the community and getting signatures requesting the administration to remove and ban Coke products from campus. They hope to make Manhattanville College Coke-Free by next semester.
"Coke withdrew from the forum because of Rogers' presence. However, Ray suggested Coke's film be shown since he hadn't seen it and would be happy to respond to all of the misinformation and lies presented in the film. The film provides a good organizing tool for anti-Coke activists who are familiar with the issues."
From our April 7, 2006 Newsletter:
"Coca-Cola had confirmed with Manhattanville College, in Westchester, NY, that the Company would send two representatives to speak at a forum to address the human rights abuse issues surrounding Coke. After learning that Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Director Ray Rogers would be speaking at the forum and anxious to debate Coke representatives, Coke informed the organizers that Coke would not appear because 'it would not be a productive meeting if Rogers attended.' "
Dominican University is a Catholic university with an enrollment of about 3,500 students. The university's site states: "As a Sinsinawa Dominican sponsored institution, Dominican University prepares students to pursue truth, to give compassionate service and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.
The Chicago Sun-Times published an article reporting about the university's decision to remove Coke products from its campus:
"Coke is no longer it at Dominican University in River Forest. The school entered into an exclusive agreement with Pepsi and stopped the sale of Coke products this semester, university officials say, in part because of student concerns that the soft-drink giant was allegedly involved in human-rights abuses against some of its workers in Colombia."
Chicago Sun-Times, "Dominican U students give Coke the boot," September 18, 2006, By Dave Newbart
"Student Erika Corona, 20, of Berwyn, was a member of the student group, Students for Peace and Justice, that pushed the change. 'Our school is a promoter of social justice,' she said. 'We'd be going back on our word if we did sell Coke.' "
U of I- Urbana-Champaign
The Campaign also received an email from a student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announcing that the Coalition Against Coke Contracts held a successful rally and march on September 12:
"University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola that is up for renewal in June 2007. Coalition Against Coke Contracts (CACC) is organizing around this issue, trying to get the university to end its contract with Coca-Cola. We had a public rally on September 12 and it was very well attended.
Coalition Against Coke Contracts [http://caccuc.blogspot.com/] hosted a rally...Close to a hundred people marched to Swanlund to tell the U of I administration to get rid of Coca-Cola. Amit Srivastava from India Resource Center and Lori Serb addressed the rally.
Read the "Resolution Regarding the Exclusive Beverage Contract between University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Coca-Cola Company"
See photos and discussion
Click on graphic for larger version
DePaul University Removes Coke Products from Campus
In our last newsletter, we reported that DePaul University, a Catholic University serving more than 23,000 students, removed Coke products from campus. This week, The DePaulia, the student newspaper at the university, ran a staff editorial about the decision:
The Depaulia, Staff Editorial, September 18, 2006
"Perhaps one may remember the debate over the Coca-Cola contract with DePaul last year, or even more possible, you just plain forgot. Well, giant glowing and fully-stocked bright blue Pepsi vending machines replaced the shiny red competitor's machines, thus sparking much banter over the beverage switch."
University of Alberta
La Chiva, a student organization at the University of Alberta, Canada, is leading the Killer Coke campaign at its school. The university's exclusive contract with Coke expires in 2008. In an article in The Gateway, La Chiva President Michael O'Tuathail states" '...the University must be held more accountable to the wider community, especially now that Edmonton is campaigning to become a human rights city. If the University wants to be a part of that human rights city, they've got to make deals with companies that respect human rights,' he affirmed. 'Enough with the sweet talk, we want some action.' "
The article also reiterates Coke's public relations lie that "its employees have a higher percentage of union membership than the Colombian national average, 31 per cent compared with four per cent respectively, due to the extended freedoms in company policy." The 31 percent is of full-time workers for Coke. The company does not include "flexible," subcontracted workers in that number, the vast majority of Coke workers.
La Chiva and the Campaign exposes Coke's lie. La Chiva stated for the article that the company is accused of "cutting jobs, reducing wages, and slashing benefits by replacing full-time employees with temporary contract workers."
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke responded to Coke's lie in an (Aug. 31, 2005 newsletter.
"This is an outright lie! If, according to Coca-Cola statements, more than 30% of the Coca-Cola system workers in Colombia are unionized and the system now employs 8,000, then approximately 2,400 Coca-Cola workers in Colombia belong to unions. This simply is not true, nor is it true that Coca-Cola's bottlers in Colombia, "enjoy extensive relations with 12 separate unions." About 95 percent of the workers in the Coca-Cola system are considered "flexible" workers with no union representation. They are employed through various subcontracting schemes. They receive low pay, no benefits, and have no job security or future with the Company. Many of them are mired in the slums in poverty. When Coca-Cola states that more than 30 percent of their employees are union members, they are talking only about a small number of workers whose jobs have not yet been subcontracted. The actual percentage of workers in the Coca-Cola system who belong to unions is approximately 5 percent at best."
The Gateway (University of Alberta), "Dispute shakes up Coke deal: Coca-Cola's alleged human rights abuses in Columbia leaves bitter aftertaste in La Chiva's mouth, the but SU has a sweet tooth for hefty scholarship funding," By Michael Liu & Natalie Climenhaga, September 21, 2006
"Taking exception to its name being 'unauthorisedly' used by Coca-Cola India in its promotional activities, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked the company to withdraw such references."
Financial Express, "WHO [World Health Organization] objects to reference in Coca-Cola campaigns," By Alok Sharma, September 21, 2006
This is not the first time that Coca-Cola has used the United Nations for its own purposes. See Campaign statements below regarding Coke's misuse of the U.N. and its agencies:
University of Michigan Falls Prey to Another Coca-Cola PR Scam
#9. Soda Out of the Schools: Raises Questions of Credibility
Carpenters Local 405 passed a resolution in solidarity with "our union brothers and sisters fighting a life and death struggle to secure basic democratic and trade union rights." The local and regional council agreed to "avoid purchasing Coca-Cola products and to boycott SunTrust Banks."
Resolution to Hold Coca-Cola and SunTrust Banks Accountable for
Human Rights Abuses Against Colombian Union Leaders
WHEREAS, United Steelworkers and the International Labor Rights Fund have filed a lawsuit under the Alien Tort Claims Act in July 2001 against The Coca-Cola Co. and its Colombian bottlers charging that Coca-Cola bottlers "contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders." The lawsuit was filed on behalf of SINALTRAINAL, the National Union of Food Industry Workers of Colombia, several of its members and the survivors of Isidro Gil, one of its murdered officers;
WHEREAS, on June 2, 2006, another Alien Tort Claims lawsuit was filed against The Coca-Cola Co. and its largest Latin American bottler, Coca-Cola FEMSA, charging "that managers at the Coke bottling plant in Barranquilla, Colombia, conspired with both the Colombian Administrative Dept. of Security and the AUC paramilitaries to intimidate, threaten and ultimately kill SINALTRAINAL trade union leader Adolfo de Jesus Munera;
WHEREAS, New York City Council Member Hiram Monserrate led a delegation of labor, student and academic representatives on a 10-day fact-finding tour in Colombia to investigate Coca-Cola's alleged human rights violations. Included in the delegation were representatives of AFSCME/CSEA, AFT and CWA locals;
WHEREAS, the delegation's final report released in April 2004, concluded that 'Coca-Cola is complicit in human rights abuses of its workers in Colombia' - and its 'complicity is deepened by its repeated pattern of bringing criminal charges against union activists who have spoken out about the company's collusion with paramilitaries;' "
WHEREAS, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 18,000 Coca-Cola workers, is demanding that Coke protect the rights and safety of workers in Colombia and stop harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation of workers at Coca-Cola facilities in the U.S.;
In a February 7, 2006 press release from the Teamsters, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said: "Our union brothers and sisters at Coca-Cola bottling facilities in Colombia have been threatened, kidnapped, tortured and murdered. It's long past time for Coca-Cola to negotiate a global human rights agreement that will protect the rights and safety of workers who produce, package and distribute Coca-Cola products;"
Conference Director and Teamsters International Vice President, Jack Cipriani, said Coca-Cola's labor abuses in the United States include harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation at Coca-Cola Enterprises facilities as well as at Odwalla and Minute Maid operations - both wholly owned by The Coca-Cola Co.;"
WHEREAS, top policymakers and corporate structures of The Coca-Cola Co. and SunTrust Banks are so intertwined, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other;
WHEREAS, the present and former CEOs of Coca-Cola and SunTrust Banks serve as top policymakers on the boards of both Coca-Cola and SunTrust Banks;
WHEREAS, top policymakers of The Coca-Cola Co. and SunTrust Banks also serve on the board of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola's largest Colombian bottler;
WHEREAS, SunTrust Banks holds 5% of The Coca-Cola Company's common stock worth billions of dollars and provides hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to The Coca-Cola Co.;
WHEREAS, SunTrust is partnering with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to open bank branches in Wal-Mart stores and former Coca-Cola CEO and SunTrust director Douglas Daft serves on Wal-Mart's board of directors;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Carpenters Local 405, in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters fighting a life and death struggle to secure basic democratic and trade union rights, calls upon Carpenters Local 405 members to avoid purchasing Coca-Cola products and to boycott SunTrust Banks until the violence against union leaders and organizers stops and the Alien Tort Claims lawsuits are resolved, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Carpenters Local 405 encourages locals not to serve Coke products, including Dasani, Fanta, Minute Maid, Nestea, Odwalla, Powerade and Sprite, at meetings and insist that such products are not served at Carpenters Local 405/Northern California Carpenters Regional Council conferences, conventions and other functions, and
FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that Carpenters Local 405 publicize this issue on its website and in its publications and inform the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, The Coca-Cola Co. and SunTrust Banks of its action.
We received an email from a former Coke employee who has been in touch with us since the beginning of the Campaign:
"I worked for Coke in Grand Rapids, Michigan? I ran into an old boss who told me volume is down over 20% in the Michigan area and they keep losing vending accounts — YEAH!"
Adding to Coke's woes in Michigan, the Michigan Union Label Council of the State AFL-CIO is distributing Campaign to Stop Killer Coke flyers as part of their conference packets to hundreds of representatives from numerous unions.
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
7. 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.
8. 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:
In addition, there are numerous reports, resolutions and articles in the "Campus Activism" section that can be useful.
- 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
10. Please send photos, reports of events, etc. for the Campaign website 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 description of how the decision was made. We would like the Campaign website to be up-to-date and to share the information with all supporters via our newsletter.
In addition, we would still appreciate an e-mail to stopkillercoke(at)aol.com with your name and city-state/province-country for our database so that we can contact you when there are events in your area.
Campaign to Stop KILLER COKE
We are seeking your help to stop a gruesome cycle of murders, kidnappings, and torture of union leaders and organizers involved in daily life-and-death struggles at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia, South America.
"If we lose the fight against Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our jobs and then our lives." SINALTRAINAL VIce President Juan Carlos Galvis
Learn the truth about The Coca-Cola Co.
"We believe the evidence shows that Coca-Cola and its corporate network are rife with immorality, corruption and complicity in murder."
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke/Corporate Campaign, Inc. Director Ray Rogers