Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update
Newsletter October 20, 2004
Contents of This Newsletter
- Stop Killer Coke in St. Louis
- Campaign Director Ray Rogers Speaking Tour, Toronto, Canada
- California Federation of Teachers Boycott Coca-Cola
- Report on Protest outside O'Reilly Hall, UCD, Dublin
- Marketing Medios, "U.S. 'Misconduct' Abroad Could Affect Brand Loyalty"
- The New York Times, "Coke and Europeans Settle Antitrust Case"
(Over the past couple of weeks, many supporters have signed on to our Newsletter list. We would like to know in which country or which region of the U.S. our supporters are from. Can you please send us your name and city/state/region/country to info@KillerCoke.org?)
WHAT: STOP KILLER COKE in St. Louis!
Black & Green Wednesday — November Forum
WHEN: 7 pm, Wednesday, November 3, 2004 [the day after the U.S. election]
WHERE: Genesis House, 6018 Delmar, East of Skinker
How can a soft drink kill? Before you take another swig, consider the charges against Coca-Cola and its bottlers:
- In Colombia, union organizers are systemically murdered by hired death squads
- In El Salvador, Coke buys sugar from plantations that use brutal child labor.
- In India and Ghana, Coke drains wells and dries up ponds.
- In Mexico, Coke pollutes the water.
- In the U.S., Coke leads the junk food industry in seducing kids into eating habits that lead to epidemic diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.
A growing movement of unions, students and governments are challenging Coca-Cola. At least 20 U.S. colleges have cancelled contracts with Coke. Learn the truth behind the Real Thing from the following panelists.
- — Ray Rogers, national director, Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
- — Don Fitz, Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis
- — Lori Reed, American Friends Service Committee [moderator]
Sponsored by the Gateway Green Alliance and Universal African People's Organization. Call 314-727-8554 for more information and visit the Greens' web site: www.gateway-greens.org
2. Campaign Director Ray Rogers Speaking Tour, Toronto, Canada
We are having a Colombia Night here at McMaster, in the Student Centre, at 7:30 pm on Oct 21st. Speakers will be Ray Rogers, North American Coordinator of the Stop Killer Coke Campaign, G Sorger, reporting on what we saw this summer in Colombia, as part of the Caravan for the lives of Colombian Trade Unionists, a video made by SINALTRAINAL (the Colombian Union that includes the workers of Coca Cola) about their struggle to survive as a union and as individuals, and finally there will be an open discussion. Please help us publicise this event and do come. It will be an interesting evening.
THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS PROGRAM SPEAKER SERIES
PRESENTS DEREK BAXTER
HOLDING CORPORATIONS ACCOUNTABLE:
THE CASE OF COCA-COLA IN COLOMBIA
DEREK BAXTER is Assistant General Counsel to the International Labour Rights Fund (ILRF) where he litigates cases to hold multinational corporations accountable for human rights violations. Baxter is co-counsel in a lawsuit filed in the U.S.A. against Coca-Cola by the ILRF and the United Steelworkers of America on behalf of SINALTRAINAL (the Colombian union representing Coke workers) and some members who have been murdered, tortured, and/or unlawfully detained.
This case presents the issue of corporate liability for acts of subsidiaries or agents.
Prior to joining ILRF, Baxter worked at a legal aid project in Virginia, representing migrant farm workers. In the course of this work, Baxter traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and the southeastern United States, representing clients and conducting discovery. He also worked at a labour law firm in Washington, DC. Baxter is a 1999 graduate cum laude of the New York University School of Law.
WHEN: Friday, October 22, 2004, 4:10 pm - 6:00pm
WHERE: Faculty of Law, Falconer Hall, 84 Queens Park
Solarium, Room FA2, Museum subway station
Beverages and snacks will be provided
C. Report from Director Ray Rogers's Canadian Speaking Tour
(Below are notes about the speaking tour from Sunday, Oct. 17th to Tuesday, Oct. 19th.Next week, we will report on what happened through the end of the tour on Sunday, Oct. 24th.)
At the Activist Fair, Ray met Canadian activists and disseminated information about the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke and he learned about current Canadian struggles from the activists.
High School Visits — (See Photos)
On Monday at The Student School, Ray had the opportunity to address and interact with a very special group of students and faculty. This school of 180 students had already banned all Coke products from their school (Read resolution). About 140 students attended the Ray's address.
A terrific dialogue took place with the students, who showed concern about the issues — they especially related to the horrible things happening to the Colombian unionists and their families. They understood the fear that Colombian children have because they might never see their parents again if their mothers or fathers stood up for their unions or fear that if their parents went into hiding, a youngster could be abducted, grilled and/or tortured to find out where their parents were.
The students committed themselves to carry on the struggle within their own communities to educate and to reject Coke as long as the company was committing human rights and environmental abuses. Five students from The Student School attended the demonstration at the Royal Bank of Canada on Tuesday.
Oakwood Collegiate Institute (a high school): Ray addressed a packed auditorium filled with 400 students, faculty and administrators. All in the auditorium expressed sincere concern about the issues and Ray was asked many questions. There was such interest, the meeting could have gone on hours longer. The students committed themselves to carry on an educational struggle, including distributing the Royal Band of Canada petition. A few of the Oakwood students attended rally at the bank..
Stephen Leacock High School: Ray addressed two classes at the school and there was a great response with an understanding of the issues. Students who drank Coca-Cola were willing to give up Coke as a "small sacrifice" in solidarity with Colombian workers and families.
Prior to arriving at the schools, Ray found out that the Toronto Board of Education was contacted by Coca-Cola and expressed concern about Ray's presence. The company wanted the schools to disseminate three pages of their propaganda and lies about the Colombia situation and health issues related to Coke. The Coca-Cola Co. expected the schools to distribute their propaganda. We should then expect that wherever Coca-Cola goes, we should have our message challenging their human rights and environmental abuses presented. When they passed out Coke's position, there was no impact, since our message was so factual and compelling.
The Demonstration at Royal Bank of Canada: About thirty people participated in the demonstration (see photos.). Angela Romo, a teacher and a member of the OSSTF (Ontario Secondary Schools Teacher Federation), read a letter signed by Wil Lambert, President, and Larry Wells, Human Rights Chairperson of the Oakville and District Labor Council.
Ray was interviewed on two radio shows — on Sunday, he was interviewed by Greg Duffy on CKLN at Ryerson University, and on Monday night, he was interviewed by Phil Taylor, the host of The Taylor Report on CIUT at the University of Toronto. Both went well. We hope to have a link to both interviews as soon as possible.
The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at the University of Toronto sponsored a strategy session on Monday about how to carry on the Campaign at the University of Toronto and how to expand it to other local universities. The Colombian Action Solidarity Alliance is working with the Campaign in Toronto; the group participated in the session.
Resolution Passed by CFT State Council October 2, 2004
Boycott Coca-Cola Products
WHEREAS Coca-Cola has bottling plants world-wide in many underdeveloped countries, and
WHEREAS many of these plants are in countries ruled by autocratic regimes or governments that owe their existence to U.S. governmental support, and
WHEREAS in Colombia, where Coke has a bottling plant, the U.S. government provides billions of dollars annually as well as military assistance to defeat insurgent forces, and
WHEREAS Coca-Cola has collaborated with the Colombian government to target union activists, and
WHEREAS union activists at the Coca-Cola plant have been assassinated by right-wing paramilitary groups, and
WHEREAS union activists in Colombia and throughout the world are calling on their union brothers and sisters to boycott Coca-Cola,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the CFT, in solidarity with our union brothers and sisters fighting for basic democratic and trade union rights, calls upon CFT members to avoid purchasing Coca-Cola products (including soda, water, sports drinks, etc.) and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CFT encourage locals not to serve Coke products at meetings and insist that such products are not served at CFT meetings, and
FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that CFT publicize this issue on its website and in its publications.
Student Activists Protest at the Conferal of
Honuary Degree on Former CEO of Coke.
Today UCD students held a peaceful protest outside the O'Reilly Hall against the conferral of an honorary degree on Donald Keough, former President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Co. and now a major shareholder and member of the Board of Directors.
This was done in solidarity with the Colombian trade union SINALTRAINAL, which called for an international boycott — also to protest at the fact that a man like Keough with blood on his hands was invited to UCD.
We think this is extremely insulting to the majority of students who voted to boycott Coke on campus one year ago today. This shows the immature nature of this college; all they are trying to do is make a mockery of student activism. The campaign was informed half an hour ago that the ceremony was secretly moved at the last minute to the Blackrock campus to hide any potential embarrassment to Brady and the college.
Once again, students' money has been squandered by this college. Hundreds of euros of food have gone to waste on a ceremony that didn't even happen in O'Reilly Hall. At least twenty extra security people were deployed some of whom childishly provoked activists by drinking Coke and waving bottles of Coke through the window.
The Careers Fair that was scheduled for today took place yesterday due to the honorary conferral on Keough. Many companies pulled out due to the short notice given by the college about the rescheduling of the event. This put many of UCD's graduating students at a disadvantage because of the short notice; only a few select companies had time to organise for yesterday.
The protest was hailed as a success by all the activists involved. It highlighted the fact that the Colombian trade unionist struggle is not over and it is still very much an issue.
5. Marketing Medios — U.S. 'Misconduct' Abroad Could Affect Brand Loyalty
"David Galarza, a member of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, an advocacy group for Hispanic union members working in the United States and Puerto Rico, initiated an anti-Coke motion in August to return all monies Coca-Cola had donated as co-sponsor of the group's meeting. Now the organization is considering a boycott. As he sees it, 'Nobody wants to be tied to an organization committing human rights abuses, especially to Latino brothers and sisters.'"
6. The New York Times, "Coke and Europeans Settle Antitrust Case," Oct. 20, 2004
"In its agreement, Coke agreed to stop forcing retailers to sign exclusivity deals that have kept rivals like Pepsi out of many shops and bars. Retailers will no longer have to stock a full range of Coke drinks to qualify for a rebate from the company. Stores will also be able to use up to a fifth of the space inside Coke-branded refrigerators to stock rival drinks."
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