Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update
Coke on Defense Around the World: Campaign is Everywhere! June 16, 2005 Newsletter
Contents of This Newsletter
- After Protests, Coke Now Officially Replaced by Pepsi at Rutgers
- Is Geldorf and Live 8 Beginning a Cokewalk with Injustice?
- Anti-Coke Activity at Oxford University (UK)
- Steelworkers Clobber Coke in Debate at St. Paul, Minnesota High School
- Campaign 'Slams' former Coke CEO Daft's Award in Australia Press
- Spotlight: Stop Coke's Deval Patrick's Run for Gov of Massachusetts
- Coke's New Jingle: Let's Create a Parody
- SunTrust a Key Boycott Target in Coke Campaign
- Dasani is Daphony Leaflet in Progress
- Wall Street Journal, India Resource Center & Coke
- KPFA, Critical Interview on Coke with Chiapas activist, Gustavo Castro Soto
- Striking Teamsters at Coke Call for Coke Boycott; Strike Settled
- Other Recent Articles
- ake Actions Against Coke!T
- Please send photos, reports of events, etc. for the Campaign website
1. After Protests, Coke Now Officially Replaced by Pepsi at Rutgers
In a recent Star-Ledger article, it was reported that the Board of Governors of Rutgers University approved the replacement of Coca-Cola with Pepsi:
"Nearly 300 vending machines and all restaurants and dining halls at Rutgers University will carry only Pepsi products under a $17 million deal approved by the school's board yesterday.
"The Pepsi Bottling Group will be the exclusive supplier of soft drinks and other beverages on Rutgers' New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses until 2015 under the new contract."
From our previous newsletter:
"In a Campaign victory that will cost Coca-Cola tens of millions in lost revenues and profits, Rutgers University of New Jersey, with more than 60,000 students, faculty, staff and administrators, has not renewed Coke's exclusive beverage contract. The Rutgers University community was among the largest consumers of Coke products and the largest collegiate consumer of Coke's Minute Maid products. Thus, hundreds of Coke machines and fountains from the three Rutgers New Jersey campuses are being removed along with Coca-Cola scoreboards, clocks and other Coke ads that polluted the university. The decision that effectively bans the sale and marketing of all Coke products from campus was made on May 10 after a long-fought, two-year Campaign led by student organizations and the faculty union.
"As a result of the Campaign, the administration felt it necessary to hold three public hearings regarding the Coke contract. At these hearings, one speaker after another called on the University to end its relationship with Coca-Cola and to ban the sale of all Coke products. No one at the hearings spoke up on behalf of Coke.
"Rutgers' 10-year exclusive contract with The Coca-Cola Co. expired at the end of July 2004. The Campaign on campus had become a hot political issue that the administration had to deal with, according to administration insiders. Some university officials complained that there were so many Coke machines and such a large infrastructure created by Coke on campus that it would be very difficult and costly to replace, thus key players in the decision felt that it would be a lot easier to simply stick with Coke. However, pressure on campus was such that the university said that it would have to extend the Coke contract for 10 months to give them sufficient time to make a change, if Coke did not clean up its act.
"The issue on campus would not go away, but intensified. Campus newspapers covered the issue extensively. As early as the fall of 2004, we were told by "informed sources" at Rutgers that Coke would be removed from campus and that Pepsi would likely be the replacement.
"The tenacity of the students and faculty ensured that Rutgers took the right course of action to hold Coca-Cola accountable. This should serve as an example for both large and small campuses to emulate."
2. Is Geldorf and Live 8 Beginning a Cokewalk with Injustice?
From the Live 8 web site: "LIVE 8 is part of a day of action across the world which kick-starts The Long Walk to Justice that calls on the leaders of the world's richest countries to act when they meet in Gleneagles on 6th-9th July. On July 2nd in London, Edinburgh, Washington, Berlin, Paris and Rome millions will be coming together to call for complete debt cancellation, more and better aid and trade justice for the world's poorest people."
Is Live 8 beginning its walk by asking a multinational corporation that embodies immorality and injustice, The Coca-Cola Co., to join them on their walk by sponsoring their concerts? This contradiction would be the height of hypocrisy!
An article in BrandRepublic.com on June 14 stated:
"Live 8 invites Coca-Cola to back London concert"
"LONDON - Coca-Cola is being secretly courted by the organisers of Live 8 to back next month's concerts.
"The brand's involvement would be highly controversial among anti-capitalist activists, who plan to use Live 8 and the G8 summit in Edinburgh the following week as a campaigning platform.
"Live 8 has been in contact with the soft-drinks giant to ask if it wanted to get involved in the event on 2 July, which will be attended by more than 150,000 people in London's Hyde Park alone...
"A Live 8 spokesman confirmed that it was planning to announce a number of brand partners but declined to confirm their identities."
As of now, activists have protested this alliance of Live 8 and The Coca-Cola Co. On June 14, a resolution was introduced in the Scottish Parliament by Rosie Kane MSP, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, stating "That this Parliament would deeply regret any involvement by soft drinks giant Coca Cola in the forthcoming Live 8 concerts." SINALTRAINAL union leader Juan Carlos Galvis, who will be speaking at the G8 Alternative Summit, narrowly escaped assassination in August 2003. Juan Carlos told the Campaign: "If we lose the fight against Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our jobs and then our lives." will be speaking at
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke joins in to protest what might become a hypocritical sponsorship. Read our letter to the promoter and producer Harvey Goldsmith.
Motion in Scottish Parliament Against Coke's Sponsorship of Live 8
3. Anti-Coke Activity at Oxford University (UK)
Anti-Coke activity is developing at Oxford University, which is composed of 46 colleges. Each college separately chooses whether to affiliate with the National Union of Students (NUS). Students at some of the colleges that are not affiliated have already begun taking action to ban Coke from their campuses. Wadham and St John's JCRs (Junior Common Rooms) have already banned Coke, while debates are continuing at other Oxford campuses to take similar action.
As reported in our April 13th newsletter, the National Union of Students, which represents 5.2 million students at 750 Student Union outlets in hundreds of universities and colleges across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland passed an emergency motion in support of the Coke Boycott. The commercial wing of NUS — NUS Services Limited (NUSSL) — has a massive multi-million pound contract with Coca Cola supplying its drink products exclusively into the vast majority of colleges in the UK and Northern Ireland. The vote does not in itself cancel the contract but it is a major step towards cancellation when the contract comes up for renewal in March 2006.
The following letter to the editor was sent by the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Director Ray Rogers to an Oxford student publication:
I was pleased to learn of the efforts by students at several Oxford colleges to hold The Coca-Cola Co. accountable for its widespread human rights and environmental abuses. Coke is complicit in the kidnapping, torture and murder of unionists in Colombia as they were in Guatemala in the 1970s and 1980s.
For those who seek to ban the sale and promotion of Coca-Cola products from their campuses, I wholeheartedly applaud their intellect, empathy and compassion. The world becomes a better place when students show a willingness to sacrifice and act to end terrible wrongs plaguing our society.
Individual decisions on whether to ban Coke products from campuses should have nothing to do with whether one considers themselves politically liberal or conservative, pro-management or pro-labor, but instead on what's clearly right or wrong. Certainly, no campus that prides itself as enlightened and as being a center of ethics and morality, should be lending its name and credibility to Coca-Cola nor serve as a marketplace for its sales and advertising.
The World of Coca-Cola is a world full of lies, deception, immorality, corruption, and gross human rights and environmental abuses. Beyond crimes in Colombia, Coke's record against the global public interest include:
- Turning farmland into wasteland through the overexploitation and pollution of water sources in India
- Benefiting from hazardous child labor in sugar cane fields in El Salvador
- Aggressive marketing to children of nutritionally worthless and damaging products
- History of racial discrimination
- Fraudulent business practices
I hope that the movement to ban Coke on Oxford colleges and at colleges and universities throughout the UK spreads as is happening throughout the world and that more and more campus communities will stand up for human rights and the environment and become Coke-free campuses.
"On Tuesday, May 10, Gerardo Cajamarca and Meredith Cleary from the USWA came to speak to two classes at my high school, Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, MN. He talked about globalization through free trade agreements, Plan Colombia, and lastly the Coca Cola situation. The students were by far the most receptive to the Coca Cola issue as our school has an exclusive contract with Coke and we have more than 20 Coke machines scattered around the building.
"Immediately after Gerardo spoke, students began putting up signs from the killercoke website (http://www.killercoke.org/) on all the machines. The signs sparked a great deal of controversy and almost immediately Coca Cola called wanting to come in and speak. They wanted their own exclusive slot to speak to the students but we wouldn't allow any less than an equal forum involving both Coke and the USWA. So the next Tuesday, the 17th, Coca Cola flew a couple reps in from Atlanta and brought people from the local Coke office. The USWA brought Gerardo and Meredith back as well as Tara Widner and Jennifer Kuhlman to participate in the forum. Both sides were given 12 minutes to present their side and 5 minutes to rebut, and then both sides took questions at the end.
"There is no doubt who won the debate. Coke looked awful and the 75 students packed into the room where the debate was held were clearly not convinced, even after the Coke reps tried to woo the seniors with information about their college scholarship programs. The questions from the audience were all attacking Coke and from talking to students after the debate, I learned that even those who went in with an open mind, left determined to stay away from Coca Cola. It sounds to me that there could be a lot of support at our school to remove these Coke machines and terminate that exclusive contract. If this incident is any indicator of the climate in high schools for a campaign against Coca Cola, I'd say the campaign stands to be very powerful.
"High School Senior
"St. Paul, MN"
5. Campaign 'Slams' Former Coke CEO Daft's Award in Australia PressThe Australian, "US activist slams nod for ex-Coke boss," By David Nason, June 13, 2005
Read Article in The Australian
In this article, picked up by the press throughout Australia, Ray Rogers was erroneously identified as head of "Corporate Watch" instead of "The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke" or "Corporate Campaign, Inc." In addition, this is the second article that states that former Coke general counsel, Vice President and Secretary and current Coke consultant Deval Patrick quit Coke because then-CEO Daft refused to commit to an independent investigation of allegations of human rights abuses in Colombia. Partick is a Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts (See article, "Our Obama?" in the Valley Advocate below in #6.)
"No executive of Coca-Cola should be allowed to hold any office of public trust, especially that of governor," said Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Director Ray Rogers. Deval Patrick, who wants to be the Democratic Party's candidate for governor of Massachusetts, is one such executive. In this article, Patrick for the first time, after many months of denials, states that he quit his job at The Coca-Cola Co. because then-CEO Douglas Daft (unnamed in the article) refused to agree to an independent investigation of the labor and human rights abuses by Coke bottlers in Colombia.
However, his assertion that Coke CEO E. Neville Isdell is "getting behind it" is dishonest. We have exposed Isdell's bogus Cal Safety report that whitewashes Coke's abuses. A statement released by United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) (Read USAS's statement on this subject) described that report as "not credible" and "entirely unacceptable." Cal Safety has also been totally discredited in reports by such publications as The Los Angeles Times and Business Week and in a recent book entitled "Monitoring Sweatshops" by Dr. Jill Esbenshade.
Patrick "agreed to serve as a legal consultant for Coca-Cola" (for $2.1 million this year). "Deval Patrick continues to make a lot of money to cover-up crimes and misdeeds of Coca-Cola and to keep his mouth shut," said Campaign Director Ray Rogers.
For nearly six years, on Patrick's watch as Executive VP, Secretary and General Counsel, Coca-Cola has been involved in tax avoidance and fraudulent business practices.
Patrick stated: "I am running in large part because I want to pass on a reason to hope." Hope for whom? During Patrick's tenure at Coca-Cola, the company's top executives gave themselves hundreds of millions in bonuses and stock options while laying off thousands of employees.
The Coca-Cola Co. and its executives are masters of deception. They spend billions of dollars to create a public image that has nothing to do with the reality behind this company.
"I'd like to teach the world to chill,
take time to stop and smile
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
and chill with it awhile
How about coming up with ideas for a parody of the jingle? Here's an example:
"I'd like to teach the world to chill,
Bust unions with a smile
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
Watch unionists chill awhile."
And use it with one of our graphics, such as:
Perhaps one can be done in Spanish with the following graphic:
Send your suggestions to stopkillercoke (at) aol.com.
8. SunTrust a Key Boycott Target in Coke Campaign
SunTrust Banks will soon become a major target of the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke via a boycott and divestment campaign. We have laid a strong foundation of support with labor unions as well as with organizations and individuals outside labor that have huge business relationships with SunTrust Banks. Students on campuses from Washington, DC to Florida can play an important role in this part of the Campaign since they and their universities have accounts, credit cards and other business relationships with SunTrust.
Why mount an aggressive campaign against SunTrust? SunTrust and Coke's leadership and ownership are so intertwined that it's hard to tell them apart. SunTrust took Coke public in 1919, owns 5% of its common stock making it the second largest shareholder, second only to Coca-Cola Director and billionaire Warren Buffett. Buffett is also one of the largest shareholders in SunTrust Banks.
E. Neville Isdell, Coke's present chairman and CEO, sits on the board of SunTrust having replaced former Coke CEO Douglas Daft. Daft joined the board of anti-union Wal-Mart in January of this year. SunTrust Banks has been opening up bank branches in Wal-Mart stores called "Wal-Mart Money Center by SunTrust," with plans to expand to about 100 of them by early 2006.
James Williams, SunTrust's former CEO, sits on the board of The Coca-Cola Co. and is beneficial owner of 4.3% of Coke common stock. Former Coca-Cola CEO Douglas Ivester sits on the board of SunTrust Banks and Phillip Humann, Chairman and CEO of SunTrust Banks, sits on the board of Coca-Cola's largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Charles McTier, a director of SunTrust Georgia, sits on the board of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coke's largest Colombian bottler and a defendant in the Alien Tort Claims lawsuit charging that Coke bottlers "contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders." Coca-Cola Enterprises Director Summerfield Johnston, III serves on the board of SunTrust Banks Chattanooga.
SunTrust Banks is involved in securing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans for Coca-Cola.
Others also recognize the intimate relationships between SunTrust Banks and Coke. Below is a recent article that discusses a lawsuit that raises serious questions about the extensive relationship between SunTrust and Coke.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Coca-Cola heirs sue SunTrust," By Jill Lerner, June 12, 2005
9. Dasani is Daphony Leaflet in Progress
We have prepared side one of a two-sided leaflet exposing the Dasani bottled water fraud which we will link to Coke's lies and misleading statements regarding the Company's complicity in gross human rights and environmental abuses. See Draft of Side One in pdf format
10. Wall Street Journal, India Resource Center & Coke
Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center cooperated with the Wall Street Journal in the development of an article on the campaign against Coca-Cola in India. The article gave great exposure to the campaign against Coke's abuses in India - and the article was picked up in publications across India. The India Resource Center wrote a response to the article because the WSJ article centered around Amit and not the activists in India. Below are the three articles:
India Resource Center, "Setting the Record Straight: India Resource Center Response to Wall Street Journal Article, June 13, 2005
The Economic Times, "'David' Srivastava versus 'Goliath' Coke," June 10, 2005
Wall Street Journal, "How a Global Web of Activists Gives Coke Problems in India," By steve Stecklow, June 7, 2005, Released by India Resource Center
11. KPFA, Critical Interview on Coke with Chiapas activist, Gustavo Castro Soto
Listen to Interview
Castro Soto's remarks about Coca-Cola and a local Coke boycott begin at about 18 minutes into the recording.
For more about Coke in Chiapas in both Spanish and English, go to CIEPAC's website at:
12. Striking Teamsters at Coke Call for Coke Boycott; Strike Settled
Below are articles about the strike, including a communiqué from SINALTRAINAL supporting the Hartford/Los Angeles Coke workers' strike and a May 28 article reporting that the L.A. Coke workers were calling for a boycott of Coke products. At last year's 2004 Coke annual shareholders meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, striking Philadelphia Teamsters were distributing leaflets calling for a boycott of Coke products.
From time to time, Campaign activists have been criticized for supporting a boycott of Coke products because it would jeopardize the jobs of Coke workers. However, it can be seen that even Coke workers support boycotts to pressure the company into a settlement, just as Campaign activists have been doing.
Los Angeles Times, "Teamsters' Coca-Cola Contract Includes Better Pay, Benefits," By Ronald D. White, June 7, 2005
Los Angeles Times, "Teamsters Unit Rejects Coke Accord," By Nancy Cleeland, June 3, 2005
Los Angeles Times, "Teamsters Call Coke Boycott as Strike Continues in L.A.," By Nancy Cleeland, May 28, 2005
SINALTRAINAL, "SINALTRAINAL Supports Teamsters Strike," By Edgar Paez
PRNewswire, "Teamsters at Coca-Cola Stand Strong for Health Care: Los Angeles and Hartford Workers Expand Consumer Boycott," By International Brotherhood of Teamsters, May 26, 2005
Teamster members in Los Angeles and Hartford, Connecticut began spreading the word about a boycott of Coca-Cola products today. Targeting consumers at Wal-Mart's Sam's Clubs, Teamsters began handing out fliers asking for a boycott of all Coca-Cola products including Coca-Cola, Dasani water and Sprite.
BrandWeek.com, "False Consciousness: Coke And A Hard Place," By Matthew Grimm, June 6, 2005
India Resource Center, "Court's Decision Confusing, Anti-Coke Struggle to Intensify," June 3, 2005
www.RightisWrong.org, "KillerCoke.org vs. CokeKills.org" and "Dow Chemical: Forgive Us Our Trespasses," By Chuck Zlatkin, January 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Coca-Cola using up water, foes in India contend: 'We want Coke to go away'," By MONI BASU in Varanasi, India, Scott Leith in Atlanta, May 29, 2005
The St. Petersburg Times (Russia), "Coca-Cola Staff Threaten Strike," May 24, 2005
Forbes, "Workers Picket Coca-Cola Bottler in Russia," May 20, 2005
(About 25 employees picketed a Coca-Cola bottling plant in St. Petersburg on Friday, demanding its management index their salaries to inflation, adhere to labor laws and observe the rights of trade unions.)
India Resource Center, "Water Wars and Bottle Battles," By Nityanand Jayaraman
- 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
15. 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