Campaign to Stop Killer Coke | Update January 22, 2007
Campaign Highlights; Coca-Cola Low-lights
Contents of Newsletter
- January 25 Protest Coca-Cola Day(s) of Action
- Coca-Cola's abuse of workers continues throughout the world
- Coke Lawsuits' Judge Martinez's Apparent Conflicts of Interest
- Autoworkers/Carpenters Locals Dump Coke
- Op-Ed Article: Campaign to Stop Killer Coke vs. The Coca-Cola Co.
- Order New Stickers, Small Posters and Fliers
- New Community Leaflet
- Coke Operating in and Importing from Sudan, Ignoring Darfur Tragedy
- Morality of Bottled Water
- Death of India's Mailamma, Anti-Coke Icon
- London Demo vs. Coke
- Reports on the Campaign
- Colombia Govt's link to Paramilitary Groups
- New Videos
- Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference, Houston,Texas
- Ethical Contracting Summit
- Major reports from the campaign that are useful in organizing
- 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
1. January 25 Protest Coca-Cola Day(s) of Action
"North America - The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke and United Students Against Sweatshops have called a Day of Action as an opportunity for university students to voice their opposition to the purchasing policies of their institutions. Students will be protesting contracts that their universities have with The Coca-Cola Co.
"Students will be highlighting numerous human rights abuses that the company is accused of being involved in. These include the murder of numerous union officials at bottling plants in Colombia, the environmental devastation in India, and other workers rights violations across the world."
DATE: Thursday, January 25, 2007
TIME: Throughout the day
PLACE: Universities confirmed to be participating are:
- The George Washington University
- Fresno City College
- Indiana University
- McMaster University
- Michigan State University
- Queens University
- SUNY Albany
- SUNY Stony Brook
- University of California San Diego
- University of Chicago
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of Ottawa
- University of Vermont
- University of Waterloo
- Wayne State University
Campaign Director Ray Rogers will be speaking and holding organizational meetings at the University of Alberta and Grant Macewan College in Edmonton, Canada, on Monday, January 29th, and Tuesday, January 30th. For further information, contact Aaron Chubb, Working Group Coordinator, Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) or Leah Orr, APIRG Outreach Coordinator. Office phone no. (780) 492-0614.
a. Coke's Attack on Pakistan's workers reported by:
IUF (Int'l Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations),
"Vicious Assault on Employment and Trade Union Rights at Coca-Cola Pakistan," December 29, 2006
"While Coca-Cola Company (CCC) executives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA were preparing to celebrate the holidays and enjoy their buoyant third quarter results, management at Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited (CCBPL, owned by CCC) were carrying out a vicious attack on employment and trade union rights at the company's Karachi operations in defiance of a local court order to desist."
This report from the IUF goes on to state: "Union-busting is a traditional management reflex at Coke Pakistan. In Central Pakistan, unions were busted in Lahore and Gujranwala and union officers have been dismissed. At Rahim Yar Khan, the union president was dismissed in 2001 and only reinstated after a tough 3-year legal battle the company continues to contest.
"Where dismissals alone fail to break the union, massive casualization has become the main management tool for maximizing insecurity and limiting union bargaining power. At the Rahim Yar Khan plant, 6-700 casual workers are employed at peak season - including 250 "seasonal" workers employed year round and some 50 who have worked at the plant for 5 or more years. To further restrict the potential union membership base, 200 permanent workers are excluded from union membership after having been reclassified as "managers" or "supervisors" — despite the fact that they work as operators and have no management authority."
These abuses described by the IUF, are very reminiscent of what has been going on in Colombia against SINALTRAINAL — Union busting and casualization of workers.
b. Coke's largest bottler dumping union workers
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the union representing more than 18,000 Coke workers, has protested the layoffs of some 100 Coca-Cola Enterprises workers in January. While CCE has posted 2005 profits of $514 million, they continue laying off workers. This is similar to what The Coca-Cola Co. did in 2001 when they made billions in net profit, laid off 3,000 workers and paid their CEO Douglas Daft $105 million.
"Coke is hiring new, non-union employees to replace the experienced union employees...Coke is now forcing these experienced and reliable workers to reapply for their own jobs at the new facility with no assurance that they will be re- employed or that their Teamster-negotiated wages, conditions and benefits will remain the same."
Press Release, Teamsters Local 683 (Southern California), "Teamsters Protest Coke Layoffs," January 14, 2007
It was also recently reported that Coca-Cola Enterprises "announce[d] a swathe of job cuts in the U.S. next month, according to local reports
the total number of jobs under threat is said to be around the 'four-digit range'."
US: CCE likely to cut US jobs," January 22, 2007, just-drinks.com
Judge Jose E. Martinez, the Florida federal judge whose rulings have repeatedly limited legal options for plaintiffs seeking to hold Coca-Cola accountable for crimes and human rights violations in Colombia, is entangled in a web of questionable ties to the world's largest beverage company, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke has recently discovered.
U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, elevated to the bench by President Bush in November 2002, is a proud and active alumnus of the University of Miami (UM) and its law school. He is "best known for his sideline: color commentator on Spanish radio for Los Huracanes," referring to the UM football and baseball teams, according to the Miami Herald (11/23/02).
Coca-Cola directly subsidizes UM athletic programs under the terms of an exclusive beverage contract with the school, in effect since at least the 2003 football season. Judge Martinez's role as a radio sports analyst, which continued through the just-ended football season, was described on UM's Athletic Dept. website, sponsored by Coca-Cola.
Judge Martinez has also "been active in UM matters, serving as...a member of the Governing Board of the UM Hurricane Club," according to the biographical note supplied for an Oct. 30, 2006 luncheon at which he was the keynote speaker. UM identifies the Hurricane Club as "the primary fundraising arm of the athletic department," and a major share of the money it has collected before and since Martinez became a judge came from Coca-Cola.
"Everything we have learned about Judge Martinez's connections to the interests of the University of Miami, its Coke-subsidized athletic department, Coca-Cola, and his former law firm suggests at least the appearance of impropriety, if not actual bias," said Ray Rogers, director of the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke. "To preserve the integrity of the judicial process, we believe he must be recused from the Coca-Cola cases."
Martinez has had a bad habit of not disclosing apparent conflicts of interests. In February 2005, Martinez failed to mention he was a Eucharistic minister, a spiritual leader who serves communion during Catholic mass, when he overturned a verdict compelling the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami to pay a woman $40,000 plus attorney fees.
Read Articles regarding Judge Martinez's Conflicts of Interest:
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, "Judge Jose Martinez and Coca-Cola: Conflict-of-Interest Pattern Emerges," January 11, 2007
Miami New Times, "Have a Coke and a Trial," By Francisco Alvarado, January 16, 2007
Miami New Times, "Religious Conviction," By Trevor Aaronson, October 12, 2006
"Judge Jos? E. Martinez ruled on a contentious case involving the Archdiocese of Miami. Problem is, he's a Eucharistic minister."
Carpenters Local 75 (Gainsville, Florida) No Longer Purchase Coke Products
Carpenters Local 75 (Gainsville, Florida) Apprentice Carpenter Flynn Allen informed us that his local will no longer purchase or make Coca-Cola products available to its members. Flynn distributed Campaign literature to members and leaders of the local who were so concerned about the issues that they immediately made the decision to no longer use any union money to purchase Coke products.
UAW, Local 122 4-U, "Local 122 - A Coke-Free Zone," December 2006
Read Page 3 for article
UAW Local 122 in Ohio passed a resolution "That UAW Local 122 will not serve Coke products in our hall," and "That we will share this resolution with other UAW bodies and urge them to take similar action."
Thanks so much to Carpenters Union Local 75 and UAW Local 122 for their support and solidarity.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke released an op-ed article for college press and others. Coke's Director of Global Labor Relations, Ed Potter, has been posting op-ed articles and ads in the college press filled with lies and misrepresentations. Our article is an attempt to respond to these lies. The article highlights Coca-Cola's involvement in Colombia, India, Mexico and the Sudan (Darfur).
Read Op-Ed Article
In response to requests from around the world for Campaign materials, the Campaign has had new stickers and small 5.5" x 8.5" posters produced for use in local campaigns. If interested, students around the world can write us to get these materials.
In addition to the new stickers and posters, the Campaign has produced a revised community flier which now includes as an issue Coke's continuing to operate in the Sudan, ignoring genocide in Darfur and paying fines for violating U.S. sanctions.
Print out side one of community flier
Print out side two of community flier
Sudan has been under the global spotlight for many years regarding the murder, rape and other severe abuses of hundreds of thousands in the Darfur region in which 2 million people have been displaced by a conflict perpetrated by the Sudanese government.
Disregarding the above, The Coca-Cola Company continues to operate in the Sudan, ignoring the massive tragedy in Darfur and paying fines for violating U.S. sanctions.
In February 2006, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department reported that it had reached an enforcement settlement with Coca-Cola in which the company "remitted $136,500 to settle allegations of violations of the Sudan sanctions occurring between June 2002 and April 2004. OFAC alleged that Coca-Cola exported to its bottler in Sudan services not authorized by its OFAC license and disregarded or evaded certain OFAC license restrictions."
According to The New York Times (Oct. 24, 2006), Coke's Sudan factory "churns out 100,000 bottles of Coke, Sprite and Fanta per hour [with] Coke syrup legally exported to Sudan under an exemption for food and medicine." Outrageously Coke takes advantage of the "exemption for food and medicine" to sell its nutritionally worthless and medically harmful sugar-laden drinks.
Furthermore, Nat Hentoff has noted that "the United States has placed certain trade restrictions on Sudan. Yet gum arabic is exempted and it is the number one export of Sudan. Coca-Cola and the other major soft drink conglomerates need gum arabic. So what do we do? We proudly proclaim that we've got sanctions on Sudan, but we exempt gum arabic." Read Hentoff Article
Chicago Tribune, "Some faith groups say bottled water immoral," By Rebecca U. Cho, December 15, 2006
"Rooted in the notion that clean drinking water, like air, is a God-given resource that shouldn't be packaged and sold, a fledgling campaign against the bottling of water has sprung up among people of faith. And though the campaign is at a relative trickle, and confined mostly to left-leaning religious groups, activists hope to build a broad-based coalition to carry the message that water should not be available only to those who can afford it."
The Globe & Mail, "The religious war on bottled water: Church groups decry profit-fuelled craze," By Martin Mittelstaedt, September 23, 2006
"Some churches in Canada have started to urge congregants to boycott bottled water, citing ethical, theological and social justice reasons. Bottled water, they argue, is morally tainted and should be avoided.
" 'I can't stand the whole idea' of bottled water, she said, citing the added garbage from discarded bottles and the greenhouse-gas emissions that spew from trucks that deliver it.
"Ms. Geraets, the Ottawa Lutheran, said water is 'a sacred gift' from God, and humans should act as stewards and not debase it by turning it into a marketable item. 'You don't sell a gift,' she said."
"It is with great sorrow that we announce that Ms. Mailamma, the leader of the anti-Coca-Cola struggle in Plachimada in Kerala, passed away on January 6, 2007. Mailamma was a central figure in the campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable for water shortages and pollution in the area, and it was under her leadership that the community forced the Coca-Cola bottling plant to shut down in March 2004. The plant has remained shut down since."
India Resource Center, "Icon of Anti Coca-Cola Struggle, Mailamma, Passes Away," January 7, 2007
ibnlive.com, "Kerala's anti-Coke crusader is dead," January 7, 2007
India Resource Center, "Icon of Coca-Cola Campaign Receives Speak Out Award," October 8, 2005
Report on December 21 protest outside the Colombian Embassy in London
Members of Hands Off Venezuela and War on Want joined Colombia Solidarity Campaign on its emergency protest outside the Colombian Embassy in luxurious Knightsbridge, London on 21 December. Picketers demanded the release of Telesur journalist Fredy Mu?oz detained by Colombian authorities since 19 November, and handed in a letter of protest demanding that Vice-President Santos withdraws his comments targeting food and drinks workers union SINALTRAINAL.
On 12 December Santos attacked the union's fight for justice from notorious multinationals Coca Cola, Nestl? and other private corporations, and contended that they are pushed by "sectors of the extreme left, radicals infiltrated into trade union sectors that are generating absolutely absurd campaigns against the corporations". In Colombia this is a green light for paramilitary attack and, following Santos prompt, two days later the 'Black Eagles' left a death threat inside the home of Barranquilla SINALTRAINAL activist EURIPIDES YANCE, also targeting his fellow Coca-Cola workers LIMBERTO CARRANZA, CAMPO QUINTERO and several local trade union, student and social movement leaders, as well as defenders of human rights. The Black Eagles gave their targets one week to leave, or else.
Colombia Solidarity calls on Santos, who is formally responsible for human rights within the government, to withdraw his prejudicial comments against SINALTRAINAL, do everything possible to ensure the life and safety of the people targeted in the Black Eagles death threat and their families, and to instigate a thorough criminal investigation into the intellectual and material authors of the death threat.
Christmas and New Year is a notoriously dangerous time for Colombian trade unionists, a killing season when paramilitaries are let off the leash free of international scrutiny. It is therefore particularly important that protests continue worldwide. Further actions are planned in Bristol, Barcelona and Sydney.
"In short, Ireland's Gaelic Athletic Association (the largest sporting organisation in the country) and the Australian Football League (ditto) stage an annual challenge series, playing a compromise set of rules, as our two games are rather similar. The latest series took place in Ireland over the last two weekends, the second leg of which is played in Dublin's 82,500 seater Croke Park. Croke Park, incidentally, is the fourth largest stadium in Europe and the largest in the world that is owned byan amateur organisation. Prior to the game, approximately 2,500 leaflets were distributed to the crowd approaching the stadium, receiving generally positive feedback. A number of us proceeded into the game where we did a banner drop in the packed-out stadium.
"While we only managed to keep the banner up for about half and hour (it was actually so large that people in the tier below complained of having their view obstructed), the action as a whole was a resounding success and can hopefully inspire others to replicate it (although I would recommend a shorter banner)."
From Mike: "On the National Day of Action against McDonald's [Nov. 4], called by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, we will visit several McDonald's in Downtown Crossing to hold the accountable for profiting from poverty, slavery and the exploitation of Florida's migrant farmworkers.
"Then at 1:30 pm, we will march on the Coca-Cola-sponsored Intercollegiate Business Convention. Protest Killer Coke for its crimes against workers, communities and the earth, from Colombia to India, and in solidarity with Coke workers who have just taken over their factories in Venezuela."
After the protest: "Last Saturday , we held our protest inside the Copley Marriott Hotel, where the Coca-Cola-sponsored Intercollegiate Business Convention was taking place. We stood there, held Killer Coke signs and chanted 'Coca-Cola's killing workers/Shut it down! shut it down!' and 'Coca-Cola's stealing water/Shut it down! Shut it down!' Hundreds of people were listening and many approached us to ask for information. We did this for over 10 minutes and then we were removed by security."
New evidence reveals strong ties to paramilitaries by the Colombian government. Both The Boston Globe and The Washington Post have published major articles reporting that "a powerful paramilitary commander is to appear in a special court Tuesday to account for crimes that include massacres and assassinations" and that "the Colombian government is under siege as evidence mounts of links between rightist death squads and dozens of officials loyal to [Colombia] President ?lvaro Uribe."
New York Times article
Boston Globe article in International Herald Tribune
Washington Post article
State of the Union, produced by Insight News for Channel 4 of Great Britain.
Our Campaign Director Ray Rogers went to Houston, Texas, to participate in the Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference in December 2006. Ray spoke at the conference. The goal of SHROC is to bring together human rights organizers to discuss common issues and develop more effective strategies for building a human rights movement in the Deep South. The conference strengthened ties among human rights organizers throughout the South and held a demonstration on Saturday, Dec. 9, focusing on the struggles against Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and McDonald's.
As previously mentioned, Ottawa U will be hosting and ethical contracting summit on Feb. 10-11, 2006. Everyone is welcome to come and may RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ottawa U people are working hard to obtain housing and will have some travel scholarships available so you can ask about that.
It was noted that there is growing anti-Coke sentiment in Chiapas, Mexico, because of their excessive use of water resources. It sounds much the same as the problems in India.
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
The Campaign's Response to Coke's Statements on the WB11 Feature
Video, "State of the Union," produced by Insight News for Channel 4 of Great Britain.
Watch State of the Union
18. 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, Japan, 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.
19. 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.
- 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
- Send an E-Card to Coca-Cola
16. 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