Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Update
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Gains Momentum on Campuses October 25, 2005 Newsletter
Contents of This Newsletter
- Anti-Coke Press Conference, Rally & March! Wednesday, Oct. 26, New York
- Referendum Victory at McMaster University, Canada
- Campaign Director Ray Rogers Interviewed on "Report on Business" on National Television in Canada for 8 Minutes on Oct. 20.
- Victory at University of Santa Clara! Coke is Out!
- Macalester College, St. Paul, MN Does Not Renew Coke's Exclusive Contract
- Hofstra University Ends Exclusive Contract
- Hofstra Adminstration Persecutes Killer Coke Campaign Activists. They Need Your Help!
- Colombian Speaking Tour Kicks Off
- Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
- The Campaign's 'Campus Activism' Section
- Search KillerCoke.org Website on Google on Our Home Page
- Take Actions Against Coke!
- Please Send Photos, Reports of Events, etc. for the Campaign Website
(The movement on college, university and high school campuses worldwide is growing. This newsletter is just touching on recent activity. We will report on further developments on campuses and activities directed at SunTrust Banks in the coming weeks. Please send us reports about any events and progress made in your local campaigns.)
New York office of Coca-Cola and headquarters of Allen & Co.,
(Herbert Allen, president & CEO of Allen & Co. and Donald Keough, chairman of the board of Allen & Co., are on the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Co. SunTrust Banks, the bank of Killer Coke, leases offices in the building, which is owned by a Coca-Cola subsidiary.)
711 5th Avenue at 55th Street, NYC
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
10:30 am — Press Conference & Rally
11:00 am — Candlelight Vigil Procession (down 5th Avenue to Colombian Consulate at 10 E. 46th Street.)
Speakers: William Mendoza, Vice President of SINALTRAINAL, Barrancabermeja; Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director of International Labor Rights Fund; Camilo Romero, National Organizer, USAS; Vanessa Cudabac, Killer Coke organizer, Hofstra University; Ruben Torres, Trustee & Business Agent, Teamsters Local 237.
Demands: Coca-Cola Take Responsibility & Immediate Action for Truth, Justice, & Reparations!
Contact: Camilo A. Romero - 510-717-4227
Questions about freedom of choice and human rights abuses half a world away were debated in a referendum on October 19 & 20, as students at McMaster University voted to end exclusivity contracts and to ban Coca-Cola. Campus Choice co-presidents Michelle Peek and Adam Tracey led the effort for a positive vote on the referenda. While the students were allowed to spend no more than $250 on their campaign, the administration took out a newspaper ad to defeat the referendaestimated to be worth $1,100.
The referenda questions were as follows:
1. Officially oppose the McMaster-Coca-Cola Exclusive Supplier Agreement
2. Refrain from the renewal or renegotiation of a contract between the McMaster Student Union and McMaster University for the exclusive provision of cold beverage products.
3. Urge the University to not renew or renegotiate its contract with Coca-Cola for the exclusive provision of cold beverage products
The results of the referenda:
Question 1: Yes (1492) No (533) Abstain (101) Spoiled (90) Declined (12) TOTAL (2228)
Question 2: Yes (1410) No (555) Abstain (139) Spoiled (89) Declined (35) TOTAL (2228)
Question 3: Yes (1513) No (511) Abstain (86) Spoiled (88) Declined (30) TOTAL (2228)
(Note: The anti-Coke part of the referendum received the largest vote.)
Prior to the vote, ILRF attorney Derek Baxter, Colombian union leaders and Campaign Director Ray Rogers spoke at McMaster.
Globe and Mail, "McMaster students to vote on Coke sales," By Caroline Alphonso and Colin Freeze, October 19, 2005
Toronto Star, "Coca-Cola debate stirs McMaster: Human rights at center of vote, Exclusive deal worth $6 million, October 18, 2005
Canada.com, "Activists take campaign against Coca-Cola to McMaster, campuses across Canada," By Colin Perkel, October 18, 2005
The Silhouette (McMaster University, Canada), "Clearing the campus of Coke," By Rob Gillezeau, October 13, 2005
The Silhouette (McMaster University, Canada), "Cola controversey," By Meghan Waters, October 13, 2005
The Silhouette (McMaster University, Canada), "Vote Yes on Oct. 19 and 20 to all three propositions," Editorial, October 13, 2005
The Silouette (McMaster University, Canada), "Coke Don't Float," By Lauren Craig Stephen, Oct. 10, 2005
3. Campaign Director Ray Rogers interviewed on "Report on Business" on national television in Canada for 8 minutes on Oct. 20
Ray was interviewed on Report on Business TV. To see the video, go down to Thursday, October 20 and click on the "Play" button. The interview with Ray begins at about 33:35 into the video. You should be able to move to that time.
4. Victory at Santa Clara University! Coke is Out!
The Santa Clara Online, "Coke vs. Pepsi: Pepsi replaces Coke for financial, ethical reasons," By Amy Chan, October 6, 2005
"Yet the switch signifies more than just having more options. The switch means Santa Clara, a Jesuit university built on Jesuit values and ethics, is not going to be contracted with a company that has contributed to the deaths of eight union leaders from Coca-Cola plants in Colombia. Earning over $4.85 billion in profits in 2004, Coca-Cola would like to ensure they are going to keep earning high profits every year. But the reality of those high profits is to keep wages in factories low.
"In order to keep wages low, Coca-Cola is participating in an act called "union busting." Since 1989, paramilitary forces in Colombia have murdered, intimidated, kidnapped, and tortured any workers attempting to unionize their factories."
5. Macalester College, St. Paul, MN Does Not Renew Coke's Exclusive Contract
A two-year battle at Macalester College led to a major loss for Coke when the college did not renew Coke's exclusive contract. Two years ago, SINALTRAINAL Coke worker Luis Adolfo Cardona, who narrowly escaped assassination and is in political asylum in the United States, spoke at the college.
One year after Cardona's visit, the college asked the company to either cooperate with an independent investigation or risk losing its contract with Macalester.
American University professor Lesley Gill sent a letter to Macalester College President Brian Rosenberg in August, in part stating:
"I write as a Macalester alumnus troubled by the Social Responsibilty Committee's recent vote against renewing the exclusive beverage contract with the Coca-Cola Company. While I commend the Committee for opening Macalester to other soft drink providers, its members have failed to address the moral issues raised by the Coca-Cola Company's business practices around the world, especially in Colombia. There is substantial evidence that the Coca-Cola Company bears more responsibility for the campaign of terror directed against trade unionists in its Colombian bottling plants than the Company has been willing to admit. The Company's behavior, its denial of responsibility and its refusal to allow an independent investigation do not represent the values that the Macalester community stands for, and Coca-Cola products should therefore be completely eliminated from campus.
" Last year and again this summer, I traveled to Colombia to investigate the accusations made by SINALTRAINAL — a labor union that organizes Coca-Cola workers. I obtained eye-witness accounts and considerable circumstantial evidence that suggest that Coca-Cola personnel organized the murder and intimidation of workers in its bottling plants. I produced a report of my findings for the Human Rights Committee of the American Anthropological Assn
6. Hofstra University Ends Exclusive Contract
Last May the Hofstra University Senate which consists of members of the Student Government Assn., Faculty, and the Administration, overwhelmingly supported the resolution against renewing Hofstra's exclusive contact with Coke. This happened after a lengthy discussion concerning Coke's numerous human rights violations and a two-year campaign on campus to get rid of Coke. The vote was unanimous with one abstention.
When the university refused to renew an exclusive contract this year, all the Coke advertising and signage were removed and many new beverage products including local products were brought on to the campus. This was a great victory for the Hofstra Killer Coke campaigners. However, the remaining Coke products serve as a red flag to students and others committed to social justice. Killer Coke activists are committed to see Coke completely banned from the campus (see item below).
7. Hofstra Adminstration Persecutes Killer Coke Campaign Activists. They Need Your Help!
Five Hofstra Student Activists (Blyth Barnow, Vanessa Cudabac, Kristen Brown, Caitlin Abber, and Kristina Marusic) are being persecuted for engaging in a peaceful demonstration against Coca-Cola on the first day of classes in the Hofstra Student Center.
When students saw Coca-cola in the Student Center giving out free samples, they responded by distributing informational flyers and organizing a small peaceful protest by the Coke display table, which included chanting and holding signs.
Assistant Director of Public Safety John O'Malley responded by physically cornering students, screaming personal insults into their faces, and threatened to personally see to it that we were dragged out by police and permanently banned from campus. Administrators from the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Student Activities stood behind O'Malley, some nodding with their arms crossed as he screamed at us, and told us to stop demonstrating.
All 5 students, even those who were only handing out flyers, were charged with Failure to Comply, Harassment, Violating the free speech and movement of a guest (i.e. Coca-Cola), and violating "Community Standards."
All students who have already had trials have been convicted, and one student has already been fined and placed on academic probation until the day she graduates. This attack on students and activism by administrators and public safety officers MUST NOT BE TOLERATED. Students and Faculty are already organizing against this completely unjust violation of civil rights.
Please call administrators and remind them that there is an entire Anti-Coke movement out there watching, and people ready to support the Hofstra Five!!!!!
Please call or email Hofstra Dean of Students Gina Crance: (516) 463-6913; DeanofStudents@Hofstra.edu on Tuesday, October 25 and demand that:
the persecution of anti-coke activists at Hofstra END
Public Safety Officers must be held accountable for physically and verbally abusing students
Free speech must be RESPECTED
Hofstra must put the interests of THE STUDENTS before that of corporations like Coca-Cola
Please organize other activists to continue calls and emails to Dean Crance.
Speaking Tour: The schedule below of the speakers' tour will focus on universities, community and labor groups. Please approach your contacts in these areas to set up events. We are asking you to arrange a venue in which to share our story and a place for crash housing. To stay pumped up and informed of updates and news of the speaking tour, make sure to visit USAS's website. For information, contact: Camilo A. Romero — 510-717-4227
Oct 24-26 New York City & Launch Activities
Oct 27-29 Florida
Oct 30-Nov 2 Washington DC
Nov 3-4 Philadelphia & New York again
Nov 5-7 Boston
Nov 8-11 Seattle
Nov 12-14 Northern California
Nov 15-16 Southern California
Nov 17-20 Atlanta (Coke's Global Headquarters) & School of the Americas, Georgia
Nov 21-23 Toronto, Canada
Background on William Mendoza: As vice president of Sinaltrainal in Barrancabermeja, Colombia, William has survived several threats and attempts on his life and that of his family for giving voice to the violations of the Coca-Cola Company and fighting for labor and human rights. He visited the US for the first time 2 years ago to launch the global campaign against Coca-Cola that has now reached hundreds of universities and captured headlines worldwide. William is very grateful for the possibility to share his message of peace, and trusts that global solidarity will help bring justice to those who struggle in Colombia and beyond.
At the same time, SINALTRAINAL worker Luis Adolfo Cardona will visit other key sites in the center of the country — specifically UMinnesota, UIowa, Grinnell College, UChicago, UIllinois-Urbana, UIndiana, UMichigan, Washington U in St Louis, and UTexas in Austin.
9. Do you need a customized Campaign leaflet?
In mid-September, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke sent out a bulletin that listed links to customized leaflets for numerous colleges. 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, some with which we had had no contact. We put them up as soon as we could. We now have leaflets for Australia, Canada, Colombia (in Spanish), India, Ireland, the UK and the US.
We also received requests from organizations for the first time — the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights and the Colombia Solidarity Committee of New Mexico. The group in New Mexico needed their leaflet for a table at an Albuquerque anti-war march on Sept. 24. They later reported: "At the table set up by the Colombia Solidarity Committee of New Mexico, there was much interest in signing up for the action alert e-list to pressure congressional reps to stop funding Plan Colombia military aid." Folks also appreciated information about "the violent union-busting tactics of Coca-Cola in Colombia."
Look for your customized leaflets
If 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 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.
10. The Campaign's 'Campus Activism' Section
Students have been writing us from schools interested in beginning a Campaign to Stop Killer Coke. 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 to students.
11. Search KillerCoke.org's Website on Google from our Home Page
We've added a Google SiteSearch so that you can search our website for any information you may need. You can do this search from below the "Breaking News" box on our home page.
- 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
13. 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