Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Gains Momentum on All Fronts July 28, 2005 Newsletter
Contents of This Newsletter
- Coke's Efforts to Control or Stymie Investigation Process Fails
- School & NYS United Teachers Headquarters Remove Coke Machines
- Deli and Market in Marlboro, VT, Ceases Sales of Coca-Cola Products
- Smith College (Massachusetts) President Carol T. Christ Sends Stern Warning to Coke
- Coke's Contract in Jeopardy at University of Michigan
- Resolution to Ban Coke Passed by the 36th District Dems in Seattle, Washington
- Rutgers Student Reports: "The Pepsi trucks have already started rolling down College Ave."
- TIAA-CREF Shareholders Meeting Dominated by Concerns of Social Responsible Investing - Coke Was the Most Dominant Issue Raised!
- Campaign Anniversary Activities
- Fluffy Spirit Demonstrates Against Coke and Reaches Out to Religious Community
- Campaign Spreads to Denmark
- USAS Letter Highlights Coke's Labor and Human Rights Abuses in Turkey and Indonesia
- New Anti-Coke Jingle
- Coca-Cola Unwelcome at Live 8 and Edinburgh, Scotland
- WBAI's Wake-up Call Covers Campaign Issues (3-part series); WBAI Dumps Coke Machine
- Interview with SINALTRAINAL VP Juan Carlos Galvis
- "Stand Up for Labor and Human Rights! Boycott SunTrust, the Bank of Killer Coke"
- Take Actions Against Coke!
- Please send photos, reports of events, etc. for the Campaign website
Students from campuses throughout the US and Canada met in Chicago on July 6 and 7 at DePaul University as part of the process to assure that a truly independent investigation is done into allegations of Coca-Cola's human rights and environmental abuses. Joining the students were representatives of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke. The coalition of students, through USAS, put out the following statement regarding the July 7 meeting, the ongoing process and the decision to expel Coca-Cola from the commission/working group.
USAS Statement on the Commission Process to Investigate Coca-Cola in Colombia
2. School & NYS United Teachers Headquarters Remove Coke Machines
New York Teacher, "RA delegate walks the walk on cola ban," By Sylvia Saunders, June 20, 2005
Teacher Fran Hurwit and the staff of Westmere Elementary had their Coke machine removed in solidarity with Colombian Coke workers. New York State United Teachers headquarters in Latham, NY, also removed Coke machines from their offices. This was reported in the New York Teacher, sent to more than 500,000 members. Campaign to Stop Killer Coke members, including a NYSUT Member, were present at the NYSUT Representative Assembly in April and distributed Campaign materials to NYSUT delegates before they passed their resolution to ban all Coca-Cola products.
Excerpt from the NYSUT resolution:
"Resolved, that NYSUT refrain from serving or selling Coca-Cola products at its offices or at any venue for its events, meetings, conferences and conventions until the allegations have been investigated; and be it further
"Resolved, that NYSUT recommend to all its affiliates that they not serve or sell Coca-Cola products at their offices or at venues for their events, meetings, conferences and conventions."
3. Deli and Market in Marlboro, VT, Ceases Sales of Coca-Cola Products
Sweeties Deli & Market, on Route 9 in Marlboro — southern Vermont — heard about the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke from a couple of residents. The women who own the store placed one of our flyers under glass on their counter and notified the Coke driver that they would not need any more Coke products until the company ended the human rights and environmental abuses.
If on Route 9 this summer, please stop in Marlboro, VT and support Sweeties Deli and Market.
4. Letter from the President Carol T. Christ of Smith College to Coke
"Unless we are persuaded that Coca-Cola is making significant progress in addressing issues related to union organizing and environmental degradation, it is likely that the climate for Coke products on our campus will not be favorable when the college needs to make a decision regarding contract renewal for 2007"
On May 9, after an intense student-led campaign, the University of Michigan's Dispute Review Board (DRB) began a process of deliberations regarding the renewal of several contracts with Coke. On June 17, as the Michigan Daily reported: "The University of Michigan's Dispute Review Board officially recommended that the University suspend its contracts with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, replacing them with shorter conditional contracts while the company has time to respond to the allegations of human rights violations that the board has found credible. The DRB recommended that Coke agree in writing, no later than September 30, to a third-party audit that will review the complaints against the company. An independent auditor, satisfactory to all parties, must be selected by December 31. The audit must be completed by March 31, 2006, and findings must be received by April 30, 2006. Coke must enact a corrective action plan by May 31, 2006. If any of these demands are not met by Coke, the company faces the serious possibility of having its contract with the University cut."
Student Ben Grimshaw said: "I thought it was good that the Administration is setting strict parameters for Coke to follow, but it gives Coke a lot of time to stall. The decision doesn't recognize the urgency of the situation."
Campaign Director Ray Rogers agreed with Grimshaw: "I'm glad the University is moving forward but time is of the essence. The fact is that there are a number of workers and colleagues facing life or death situations right now." Rogers added: "Unfortunately in our society, the richer and more powerful the criminal, the less swift our sanctions and justice."
Below are several article describing the action of the DRB along with links to the report itself:
The New Standard, "Coca-Cola University Contract in Jeopardy Amidst Protests," By Brendan Coyne, June 21, 2005
The Michigan Daily, "'U' adjusts Coca-Cola contracts," By Jeremy Davidson, June 20, 2005
The Detroit News, " Coca-Cola will explore U-M charges — Student group: Firm is draining water from India and harassing Colombian unions," By Marisa Schultz, June 20, 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "University of Michigan seeks probe of Coke's Colombia operations," By Scott Leith, June 17,2 005
6. Resolution Passed by the 36th District Democrats in Seattle, Washington
"Therefore, be it resolved that the 36th District Democrats endorse the "Stop Killer Coke" campaign and call for a boycott of all Coca-Cola products — including Sprite, Fanta, Nestea, Minute Maid, Powerade, Swerve dairy drink and Dasani water — until the terror against Columbia Coca-Cola workers stops; and,
"Be it further resolved that Coca-Cola products will not be served at 36th District Democrats events; and,
"Be it further resolved that the 36th District Democrats call upon the King County and Washington State Democratic organizations to support the boycott of Coca-Cola products."
"Rutgers students won't choke on Coke
"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 ban on Coke is in support of a nationwide campaign of student-labor activists to 'stop the gruesome cycle of murders, kidnapping and torture of union leaders and organizers involved in daily life and death struggles at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia, South America,' says the Stop Killer Coke campaign.
"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."
From the People's Weekly World," June 18, 2005
On July 19, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke joined the rest of the Make TIAA-CREF Ethical coalition in a protest outside and inside the TIAA-CREF annual shareholders' meeting held at TIAA-CREF offices in New York City
"Activists push TIAA-CREF to divest
By Chuck Bennett, amNew York
July 20, 2005
"Taking a cue from the anti-apartheid campaigns of the 1980s, activist staged a small rally outside TIAA-CREF Midtown office yesterday to change the pension powerhouse's investment practices.
"The protesters — which numbered about 20 and included human rights and environmental advocates — want the $340 billion pension management company to divest from what they called socially irresponsible companies.
"Nike, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Philip Morris/Altria and other international companies were cited by the protesters. They accuse the companies as employing practices such as using sweatshop labor.
"'They need to divest from corporations involved in human rights violations and in public health, community, and environmental degradation,' said Neil Wollman, a psychology professor at Manchester College and critic of TIAA-CREF.
"Stephanie Cohen Glass, a TIAA-CREF spokeswoman, told amNew York that her company has had a long-running dialogue with Wollman and other protest groups.
"'We have 3.2 million investor participants within TIAA-CREF and we have a fiduciary obligation to make investments in their best interest,' she said.
"She added that TIAA-CREF has a $7 billion account for people who share the protestors concerns. That account screens out Wal-Mart, Altria and Unocal, she said."
(Editor's Note:)Ms. Glass failed to include Coca-Cola in that list of screened companies since the Social Fund does include Coca-Cola stock in addition to the Coke stock held in their other accounts.
From Perry in Minnesota, U.S:
"Sending out some photos taken on the International Day Against Coca-Cola in Minnesota. We did two banner drops on Highway 35 during morning rush hour and Highway 94 during the evening rush.
"Also, in the Twin Cities, Gerardo Cajamarca and Merideth Aby held several public forums in three local universities. They also had a radio interview with a local station.
"I think we can bet several thousand people learned about the boycott for the first time on Friday, in the Twin Cities alone. From what I've heard about actions and press in other cities, it seems like public consciousness is rapidly growing about Coke's grave human rights violations in India and Colombia. Thanks to all the great work you all are doing.
From Vanessa in New York City:
On July 22, activists came together to celebrate two years of hard work and progress in the international campaign against The Coca-Cola Company.
At 4:30 pm, a demonstration began in front of the Coca-Cola building on 5th Avenue.
At 7:00 pm, activists armed with party hats and smiles danced to Salsa and other Latin music in front of the Colombian Consulate building, handing out flyers about the movement against Coca-Cola.
Then we took our dance party to the streets of Times Square, in front of the giant Coca-Cola ad. There we banged on drums, sang "Solidarity Forever", and "1,2,3,4 Coca-Cola we abhor 5,6,7,8 unions we appreciate."
While there, we met a Colombian dance troupe, who borrowed our drums and made some hot music and did a dance presentation in costumes resembling the Colombian flag. All our flyers disappeared, we made new friends, and hopefully new allies.
10. Fluffy Spirit Demonstrates Against Coke
"Fluffy Spirit," aka United Church of Christ ordained minister Bob Stiles, protested against Coke at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Downey, California, where Coke workers were sympathetic. "Fluffy Spirit" also protested at the nationally renowned All Saint's Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, of which he is a member and on busy corners in Los Angeles.
Bob is making a major effort to get churches, mosques and temples involved in the Stop Killer Coke Campaign. He would like others to join him in these efforts and he can be reached at email@example.com. Bob is also an excellent speaker who would speak to groups free of charge — contact him at his email address if you are interested in joining him.
We heard from Ron Ridenour in Denmark: "We have received your literature and I read your website news
And now we have finally officially begun a committee here run by "a handful of progressive union locals.'
They held their first arrangement with David Rovics and Anne Feeney singing."
12. USAS Letter Highlights Coke's Labor and Human Rights Abuses in Turkey and Indonesia
Read Letter from USAS
"We write to you with urgency regarding incidents of labor and human rights abuse at Coca-Cola facilities in Turkey and in Indonesia that have recently come to our attention. The information we have received indicates that in both countries Coca-Cola and its partners have violated internationally-recognized and fundamental labor standards that protect the rights of workers to join a union."
We asked supporters to create a new jingle for Coca-Cola that portrays Coke for what it really is. Here's Coke's ad that G. Love sings:
"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
And Here's one submitted by Campaign supporter Rock Salomon:
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And start another trend
I'll drink my cool refreshing Coke
while burying my friends
I'd like to hide the evidence
where decent folks can't see
then sell my soul to Father Greed
and keep it company
That's the song I sing
And I'm not alone
Coke's bold Dynamic Ribbon Device
carved on another stone
So when you pop another Coke
and pour it over ice
You paid to quench another thirst
while others paid with lives
Please send any other ideas for an anti-Coke jingle.
14. Coca-Cola Unwelcome at Live 8 and Edinburgh, Scotland
The G8 Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland took place in July. It was reported that Coca-Cola would cosponsor the "Live 8: The Long Walk to Justice" concerts produced by Bob Geldorf to coincide with the G8 conference. The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke moved to action and contacted the concert's producers. They told us to send a letter detailing our position (Read Letter.)
At the same time, other groups, including the India Resource Center protested any involvement by The Coca-Cola Co.
Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Coke would not be sponsoring the event.
The introductory sentence in an article that was picked up throughout the world stated: "This has not been a good weekend for Coca-Cola in Edinburgh."
"First, the US soft drink was banned from Saturday's rally of more than 200 000 people, calling for action on trade, aid and debt in poverty-stricken Africa from this week's Group of Eight summit.
"From the balconies hung banners: 'Stop Bush', 'Ban the Bomb,' 'Think Before You Drink Coca-Killa,'" thus raising the Campaign to the level of other significant international campaigns.
About Coca-Cola's Abuses on Pacifica Radio's WBAI, Three segments on "Wakeup Call" with Deepa Fernandes
The following links will guide you to the web page that lists all the segments of each show. Each of the segments on Coca-Cola can be found during Hour Two.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
HOUR TWO: In this hour of Wakeup Call, we take another look at Panama to investigate the status of the striking workers, but before that, we'll reflect on the change that student protests are making in the Coca-Cola consuming world. We'll bring you the final installment of our three part series on Killer Coke, taking a look at domestic campaigns to kick the soft drink giant off college campuses. And hear Wakeup Call listeners take a NO-Coke pledge!
Killer Coke: the Student Movement
GUEST: Ray Rogers, Director of the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
GUEST: Vanessa Cudabac, member of Students Against Injustice at Hofstra University
Listen to segment
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Hour Two: Killer Coca-Cola
CLIP: Interview with Adolfo Luis Cardona, former member of the Colombian food workers' union, Sinaltrainal
GUEST: Lesley Gill, American University professor of Anthropology and author of Labor and Human Rights: 'The Real Thing'
Listen to segment
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Hour Two: This hour, we'll briefly highlight a conscientious objection meeting in Suffolk County and then jump to the first in a three part series about Killer Coca-Cola. Today, we'll look at how Coca-Cola plants in India have been depleting the local water supplies and producing toxic products. But before that, we look at what the City Council's been up to: a new prescription drug proposal, new rights for arrestees, new developments in tenants' rights - you'll get the latest, and find out where your elected officials stand on the issues. Finally, if you think that buffalo only roam in a home on the range, stay tuned. We'll hear a tale of intrigue, document destruction, and bison when we speak with the Buffalo Field Campaign.
Listen to segment
16. Portland Independent Media Center, A 37 minute interview with SINALTRAINAL Vice President Juan Carlos Galvis, in Spanish with English translation.
Listen to Interview
17. "Stand Up for Labor and Human Rights! Boycott SunTrust, the Bank of Killer Coke"
"The Coca-Cola Company is complicit in the kidnapping, torture and murder of union leaders in Colombia, as it was in Guatemala in the 70's and 80's. And Coca-Cola shares six top policymakers with SunTrust Banks, including Coca-Cola's current CEO E. Neville Isdell. SunTrust also owns 5% of the Coca-Cola Company's stock and lends the company hundreds of millions of dollars. SunTrust is now teaming up with anti-union Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to open dozens of bank branches in Wal-Mart stores. Former Coca-Cola CEO and SunTrust director Douglas Daft serves on Wal-Mart's board of directors." Excerpt from leaflet
India Resource Center, "Indian State Takes Coca-Cola to Court; Sales Drop 14% in Summer, July 22, 2005
Read Press Release
Commondreams.org, "Government Abandons Children to Big Food," By Michele Simon, July 21, 2005
"Coca-Cola also took the opportunity to misrepresent itself. Abigail Rodgers, vice president of "Wellness Strategies and Communication" claimed that the company does not sell soda in elementary schools. Trouble is, a survey of Kentucky schools revealed that soda is sold in 44 percent of elementary schools. And Coca-Cola was a powerful lobbying force against four legislative attempts to pass a state bill to get soda out of schools. But Ms. Rodgers forgot to mention that, along with the other state bills Coca-Cola has helped kill or weaken, including those in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, and Oregon."
The Telegraph (India), "Cola behind empty pots? Coke thirsts for a fight- No water, no problem?" By CHANDRIMA S. BHATTACHARYA, July 18, 2005
The New York Times, "Coke Is Urging Youths to Get Physical," By Melanie Warner, July 12, 2005
"Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a nonprofit group in Portland, Ore., that opposes many forms of corporate marketing, said that if Coke really wanted to be helpful, it could stop battling well-meaning state and local efforts to remove soda and junk food from schools. "They're lobbying as hard as they can against these things," he said.
"Ms. Wootan, who lives in Washington and has spent several years working with other parents to get schools in the District of Columbia to remove sodas and junk food, said she also faced considerable opposition from Coke. "Their representative fought us every step of the way," she said. "What they're doing is saying one thing at the national level and then doing something else locally."
"It has also been widely reported that the head of Coke's lobbying concern in Connecticut was a former aide to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who last month vetoed the School Nutrition Bill, which would have prevented nondiet sodas and junk food from being sold in all Connecticut schools.
"Coke says that it opposes statewide bans because school administrators should have the ability to choose what is best for their students." (or best for their profits)
The New York Times, "The Food Industry Empire Strikes Back: Lobbying Effort to Shield Companies From Court Action Is Gaining Ground," By Melanie Warner, July 7, 2005
" Twenty states have enacted versions of a "commonsense consumption" law. They vary slightly in substance, but all prevent lawsuits seeking personal injury damages related to obesity from ever being tried in their courts. Another 11 states have similar legislation pending.
"Restaurant owners and food company executives personally visited state lawmakers, testified at hearings and steered campaign contributions to pivotal lawmakers. Executives from Kraft and Coca-Cola showed up in Texas, for instance, to lobby for that state's commonsense consumption bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last month."
The New York Times, "Girth of a Nation," By Paul Krugman, July 4, 2005
"The Center for Consumer Freedom, an advocacy group financed by Coca-Cola, Wendy's and Tyson Foods, among others, has a Fourth of July message for you: worrying about the rapid rise in American obesity is unpatriotic."
Mother Jones, "Pirates of the Corporation: Holding American companies responsible for high crimes committed overseas," By Joshua Kurlantzick, July/August 2005
This article discusses the importance of the Alien Tort Claims Act, a statute passed in 1789 to hold corporations, and perhaps government officials, accountable for crimes against humanity. The article highlights the work of Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Fund, who, along with Dan Kovalik of United Steelworkers of America, are lead counsels in the Alien Tort Claims lawsuit that charges that Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia "contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders."
Boston Independent Media Center, "International campaign against Killer Coke intensifies," By Bryan G. Pfeifer, June 28, 2005
Commondreams.org, "Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America," By Peter Phillips, June 24, 2005
Read Article "A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other. NBC and the Washington Post both have board members who sit on Coca-Cola and J. P. Morgan, while the Tribune Company, The New York Times and Gannett all have members who share a seat on Pepsi. It is kind of like one big happy family of interlocks and shared interests." v
FoodNavigator-USA.com, "FoodNavigator-USA.com, "Connecticut governor slammed for "siding with soda companies," June 24, 2005
"By siding with soda companies, (CT) Governor Rell has undermined parents' ability to feed their children healthful diets. Perhaps this is not surprising, given that Coca-Cola's fight against this bill was led by a former top campaign advisor to Governor Rell. But it is a shame nevertheless."
BBC News, "EU makes Coke throw open fridges," June 22, 2005
Indymedia Ireland, "The People vs. Coca-Coa," by Michael Lydon, June 20, 2005
- 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
20. 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