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Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Newsletter, April 11, 2011

Table of Contents

  1. Articles on the Campaign from Canada, the U.S. and Ireland
    1. Canada: 'The Coca-Cola Case': More than a documentary, it's a vehicle for a global movement for corporate accountability and union rights
    2. U.S.: THINGS DON'T GO BETTER WITH COKE
    3. Ireland: 'Coca-Cola: Worldwide Icon' or 'Killer Coke: Worldwide Criminal'?
  2. Ray Rogers Discusses Killer Coke with Ellis Henican on Talk Radio Network
  3. Coke to Pay Estimated $48 Million for Damages in Plachimada, India
  4. Support the Campaign at Coke's Annual Meeting with a Contribution and/or Proxy
    1. Help pay for the Stop Killer Coke mobile billboard advertising truck
    2. WE NEED YOUR PROXIES for Coke's Annual Meeting
  5. School & Public Libraries Offering 'The Coca-Cola Case' Documentary
  6. Statement for Frente Civico: Absurdity at UNAM (Absurdo que la UNAM)
  7. Coke's Brand Value Drops Significantly
  8. Kids Win, Coca-Cola Loses: Cathie Black Booted Out as NYC Schools Chancellor

1. Articles on the Campaign from Canada, the U.S. and Ireland

Please help spread the word by distributing any of these articles:

a. 'The Coca-Cola Case': More than a documentary, it's a vehicle for a global movement for corporate accountability and union rights by Tom Sandborn,The Tyee, March 25, 2011
Read Article

"Imagine living under conditions that mean simply joining a trade union could get you and your family members killed, your daughter gang raped or see you driven into exile by the fear of company thugs. A growing chorus of labour lawyers, social critics and human rights activists are saying that is exactly the situation facing workers employed by Coca-Cola bottlers in Third World countries. These days, some of the voices making these allegations are being raised in Canada. They say that there is a line of responsibility that runs from Coca-Cola's corporate offices in Atlanta to the violence of anti-union gunmen in the Third World..."

b. THINGS DON'T GO BETTER WITH COKE by Lew Friedman, Linewaiters' Gazette, Park Slope Food Coop, New York City,, March 24, 2011
Read Article

"Members of the Coop may ask why we are no longer selling Honest Tea?

"On March 1, The Coca-Cola Company announced that it had acquired 100% of Honest Tea. Our GM has voted on three occasions to boycott Coke products joining dozens of colleges, including Rutgers and Union Theological Seminary, as well as unions such as the United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union and New York State United Teachers. In addition, the Washington Food Co-op in Port Townsend, Washington, began a boycott of Odwalla in 2007."

c. 'Coca-Cola: Worldwide Icon' or 'Killer Coke: Worldwide Criminal'? by Eirigi, online magazine in Ireland. March 15, 2011
Read Article

"The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke focuses on holding Coca-Cola accountable for its horrific labour, human rights and environmental abuses and undermining the health of children worldwide.

" 'The campaign is a movement of "we's" and not "I's",' said Ray Rogers, the campaign's director, 'and we need all the help we can get if justice is to prevail.' "

2. Ray Rogers Discusses Killer Coke with Ellis Henican on Talk Radio Network

THE ELLIS HENICAN SHOW -MARCH 11, 2011
Listen to 9-1/2 minute Interview

Ellis Henican - on the Talk Radio Network - interviewed Corporate Campaign Director Ray Rogers about the state of labor in America and also about the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.

Rogers talked about Coca-Cola's labor and human rights abuses and why he believes democracy is in danger as labor unions across the country are under siege.

3. Coke to Pay Estimated $48 Million for Damages in Plachimada, India

"Coca-Cola au centre de conflits sur l'eau en Inde | Le geant americain est accuse de vider les nappes phreatiques. L'Etat du Kerala demande des compensations", Julien Bouissou, March 6, 2011
Read Article in French | English

"Le Parlement du Kerala, un Etat du sud de l'Inde, a vote, jeudi 24 fevrier, la mise en place d'un tribunal special pour statuer sur les demandes de compensation contre le geant americain Coca-Cola, accuse d'avoir pollue et surexploite des nappes phreatiques, mettant en danger la sante de milliers d'habitants. Pertes agricoles, pollution aquatique, maladies : le montant des dommages est evalue a 48 millions de dollars (34 millions d'euros)."

"The Parliament of Kerala, a southern state of India, voted Thursday, February 24, setting up a special tribunal to rule on compensation claims against the U.S. giant Coca-Cola, accused of having polluted and overexploited aquifers, endangering the health of thousands. Agricultural losses, water pollution, diseases: the amount of damage is estimated at $ 48 million (34 million euros)."

'Indian state to hear claims against Coke,' by Jeremiah McWilliams, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 25, 2011
Read Article

"People who claim they were hurt by Coca-Cola bottling operations in a southern India village can seek compensation from the company, according to legislation that sets up a claims tribunal in the Indian state of Kerala...

"The bill stems from complaints against Coca-Cola surrounding a bottling plant in the village of Plachimada. Seven years ago, protesters accused the Atlanta-based company of pollution and water depletion. Coca-Cola closed the plant in 2004."

4. Support the Campaign's Presence at Coca-Cola's Annual Shareholders' Meeting in Georgia on April 27th with a Contribution and/or Proxy.

Coca-Cola's annual meeting of shareholders will be held:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 starting @ 1:00 PM
Cobb Galleria Centre
Two Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

a. Help pay for the Stop Killer Coke mobile billboard advertising truck.

Your contribution will help defray the cost of transportation and other costs related to our presence at the annual meeting, including the mobile ad truck with 10' x 22' billboards on each side. The ad truck, depicted below, will be present at the meeting and will travel throughout the Greater Atlanta area where The Coca-Cola Company is headquartered.

b. WE NEED YOUR PROXIES for Coke's Annual Meeting

We need help to have a presence at Coca-Cola's annual shareholders' meeting. The annual meeting is the only place we can challenge Coke's chief policymakers -- the top executives and members of the company's board of directors — face-to-face. By having a visible presence at the meeting, no stockholder, creditor, other potential investors or stock analysts can say they were not forewarned about the increasing risk in investing heavily in Coke since Coke is facing hundreds of millions of dollars or more in lost sales, fines, lawsuit settlements and brand value.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke is working with individuals, other organizations and stockholders to hold Coke accountable around serious labor, human rights, health and environmental abuses. If you or your organization would like to participate in activities around the annual meeting, contact us at (718) 852- 2808 or e-mail us at info@killercoke.org.

You should have recently received your notice of the annual meeting and proxy from The Coca-Cola Co. If you are not able to attend the annual meeting and would like to help the Campaign, we would like your proxy assigned to us so that others can attend. You can contact us at (718) 852-2808 or info@killercoke.org and we will explain how to transfer your proxy. If proxyholders plan to attend the shareholders' meeting and would like to raise issues on the floor of the meeting, please contact us.

5. School & Public Libraries Offering 'The Coca-Cola Case' Documentary

Students at film showing at Michigan State University, Feb. 23, 2011

The following libraries have obtained copies of "The Coca-Cola Case," which are available for borrowing. If your library is not listed, please ask your librarian to order the film:

  • Appalachian State University, Belk Library (NC)
  • Arizona State University (AZ)
  • Bates College, Ladd Library (ME)
  • The Book House Inc. (MI)
  • Connecticut College, (CT)
  • DePauw University (IN)
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IN)
  • Jacob Edwards Library, Southbridge (MA)
  • Keene State College (NH)
  • New College of Florida, Jane Bancroft Bank Library (FL)
  • Niagara County Community College, Lewis Library (NY)
  • Northern Arizona University Cline Library (AZ)
  • Notre Dame Law Library (IN)
  • Princeton University (NJ)
  • St. John Fisher College (NY)
  • Stetson University Law Library (FL)
  • Stonehill College (MA)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (CA)
  • University of Kentucky (KY)
  • University Texas at Dallas, McDermott Library (TX)
  • University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library (VT)
  • Warner University (FL)
  • Warren Wilson College (NC)
  • York College, CUNY (NY)

U.S. libraries can obtain copies of the film at http://thecoca-colacase.org. There it can be ordered online through PayPal or by sending a check or money order, made out to Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, Cooper Station, PO Box 1002, New York, NY 10276-1002.

Libraries outside the U.S. can obtain copies of the film through the National Film Board of Canada by contacting Jenny Thibault, c/o National Film Board of Canada, Postal Box 6100, Centre-ville Station, Montreal (Quebec), H3C 3H5, Canada; Telephone: 514-283-9189; Email: j.thibault@onf.ca

6. Statement for Frente Civico: Absurdity at UNAM (Absurdo que la UNAM)

Frente Civico in Mexico asked the Campaign to make a statement about the soft drinks industry, led by Coca-Cola in Mexico, trying to portray itself as a promoter of healthy living. The venue is a museum on Mexico's largest university campus, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). The following is a statement issued by Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Director Ray Rogers, which was translated into Spanish by a member of Frente Civico.

Absurdity at UNAM
Mixing 'Health: Life and Balance' with Coca-Cola and Soft Drinks Industry
Statement from Ray Rogers, Director, Campaign to Stop Killer Coke

"It is the height of hypocrisy to have the soft drink bottlers in Mexico, represented by ANPRAC (National Association of Producers of Soft Drinks and Carbonated Water), launch the "Health: Life in Balance" room of the Universum, Museo De Las Ciencias De La Unam. This room is supposedly meant to promote a healthy life style particularly for children and youth. However, ANPRAC is the Mexican arm of the American Beverage Association (ABA).

"Both ANPRAC and the ABA are heavily dominated by Coca-Cola. This room is not about promoting health. It's a public relations scam that perpetuates the notion that Coca-Cola and other soft drink companies are concerned about the health of children. This is one of the ways that the industry attempts to shift the blame from their aggressive marketing of unhealthy soft drinks, which fuel high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and tooth decay in children particularly. New studies also link ingredients in these beverages to cancer, stroke, heart disease and other illnesses.

"For the University and the museum to be associated with The Coca-Cola Company and the soft drinks industry is deplorable. It serves to promote Coca-Cola's brand name and extends the company's and industry's political influence throughout Mexico, a country in which they continue to do great harm...

"The best example that UNAM could make to promote "Health: Life and Balance" is to disassociate its "Health: Life and Balance" room from the soft drinks industry and remove all Coke beverages and other unhealthy products from the UNAM campus."

[Link to the full article in English]


Absurdo que la UNAM mezcle la 'Salud:
Vida y Equilibrio' con Coca-Cola Company y la Industria Refresquera
Ray Rogers, Director, Campana Stop Killer Coke

Es el colmo de la hipocresía que los embotelladores de refrescos en México, representada por ANPRAC (Asociación Nacional de Productores de Refrescos y Aguas Carbonatadas), el lanzamiento de "Salud: La vida en equilibrio" de la sala de Universum, Museo de las Ciencias de la UNAM. Esta habitación está supuestamente destinada a promover un estilo de vida saludable en particular para los niños y jóvenes. Sin embargo, ANPRAC es el brazo mexicano de la American Beverage Association (ABA). Ambos ANPRAC y ABA son controladas por Coca-Cola. Esta sala no puede promover la salud.

Se trata de una estafa de relaciones públicas para perpetuar la idea de que Coca-Cola y otras compañías de refrescos se preocupan por la salud de los niños. Esta es una de las formas en que la industria de los intentos de echar la culpa de su agresiva comercialización de bebidas refrescantes no saludables, que la presión la hipertensión, la obesidad, la diabetes y la caries dental en los niños en particular. Nuevos estudios también vinculan los ingredientes en estas bebidas con el cáncer y enfermedades del corazón. El que la Universidad y el UNIVESUM que se asocie con The Coca-Cola Company y la industria de los refrescos es francamente deplorable. Sirve para promover el nombre de Coca-Cola, incluso fortaleciendo la empresa y su influencia política en México, un país en donde sigue haciendo un gran daño a la salud de sus habitantes.

México es uno de los que mas consumen refrescos en el mundo – un lugar de grandes ganancias para Coca Cola con un detrimento terrible para la salud de los mexicanos. Sin duda la obesidad y la diabetes son preocupantes aquí...

Esta conducta inaudita sólo hace Coca-Cola una empresa que la UNAM y su museo UNIVESUM deben evitar. La mejor leccion que la UNAM podría dar para promover la Salud: Vida y Equilibrio" es deslindar esta sala de la industria refresquera, preferiblemente prohibiendo todas las bebidas Coca-Cola y otros productos no saludables en la UNAM.

[Link to Spanish full article]

7. Coke's Brand Value Drops Significantly

'Microsoft and Apple grow but Coca-Cola and Toyota see brand reputation drop,' Manufacturing Digital, by Chris Davies, March 22, 2011
Read Article

"Perhaps the biggest talking point of the study, Coca-Cola suffered the second largest fall in value - ($9bn) - during the year, sliding from third to 16th place."

8. Former Coca-Cola Director Cathie Black Booted Out as NYC Schools Chancellor: Kids Win, Coca-Cola & Cathie Black Lose

On Thursday (4/7/11), it was reported that Cathie Black was asked to step down as Chancellor of the NYC public school system. Appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Black was an executive at Hearst Publications and raked in millions as a director and large shareholder of The Coca-Cola Co. The public school community immediately sprang into action protesting Black's appointment since she had no education experience, had sent her own children to expensive boarding schools, was a supporter of charter schools and was a personal friend of the mayor.

Our Campaign also sprang into action and put out press releases about Black's role as a top policymaker of The Coca-Cola Co. and how this made her unfit to work on behalf of children. The Daily News and The New York Times then published articles about Black's leading role with Coke. We participated in demonstrations, spoke at rallies and distributed flyers to warn the public about Black's lack of ethics shown in her role with Coca-Cola.

Throughout the three months of her tenure, her popularity continuously dropped. When in a discussion of class size, she jokingly suggested "birth control" would solve the problem, the community became further irritated. This past week, a poll showed her popularity had dropped to 17%. Clearly, she and Bloomberg were fooling no one--she was unfit for the job.

'Cathie Black asked to step down as NYC Schools Chancellor; Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott to take post' by Erin Einhorn, Adam Lisberg and Rachel Monahan, Daily News, April 7, 2011
Read Article

"Black's surprise appointment in November stunned the city and was met with a torrent of criticism...Black made a number of missteps since taking the job in January and has been slammed with abysmal poll numbers... Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who had criticized the mayor's choice of Black, praised the decision 'to change course in such a big way when things are not working. It's been clear for months now that, like the Titanic, this ship has been sinking with more than one million school children on board,' he said."

'A closer look at new schools chancellor Cathie Black's resume shows troubling link to Coca-Cola' by Juan Gonzalez, Daily News, Wednesday, November 17th 2010
Read Article

"After several murders of union members at Coke bottling affiliates in Colombia, union leaders there filed a $500 million civil suit against the company in Miami Federal Court. They claimed plant managers routinely called in death squads to terrorize their members. A PBS 'Frontline' report later found attacks had occurred inside the plants with the knowledge of local supervisors. As a member of the company's public issues and diversity committee, Black was well aware of the allegations... "

"Among the local schools that dumped Coke supply contracts are Rutgers, Manhattanville, State University at Stony Brook and Bard College.

"This year, former Coca-Cola employees in Guatemala who were forced to flee their homeland filed suit against the company in New York.

"Jose Armando Palacios and Jose Alberto Vicente Chavez say they were shot at and their families terrorized by armed men because of their involvement with a union at the Guatemalan plant...

"Meanwhile, Mexico's best-known consumer advocacy group, El Poder de los Consumidores, has repeatedly blasted Coca-Cola and other producers of high-sugar products for their marketing campaigns to that country's schoolchildren.

"In the past two decades, consumption of soft drinks among Mexico's poor has increased by 60%, and the country now has one of the highest rates of Coca-Cola use in the world. Nearly 70% of Mexican adults are overweight or obese, and 10 million suffer from diabetes."

'As Bloomberg Fought Sodas, Nominee Sat on Coke Board' By MICHAEL BARBARO, New York Times, November 16, 2010
Read Article

"Through most of these battles, Ms. Black, the magazine executive nominated last week to lead the nation's largest school system, was one of 14 people on the company's board of directors, and she sat on a company committee that focused on policy issues including obesity and selling soda to children. On a board that meets six times a year, she was privy to internal debates about the company's combative strategy, and there is no public evidence that she ever questioned it."

'Killer Coke Campaign Opposes Cathie Black Appointment' by Billy Wharton, Bronx County Independent Examiner, November 17, 2010
Read Article

"Black has publicly stated that she would resign from her position at Coca-Cola if it were deemed a conflict of interest. However, the Killer Coke campaign is joining others in calling for her appointment to be blocked. They described her as having an, 'immoral focus on the bottom line at the expense of the lives of children and their families,' that 'makes her unqualified for this position.'"

Ray Rogers' Open Letter to Commissioner of Education David Steiner Opposing Appointment of Cathleen Black as Chancellor of NYC Public Schools
For immediate release: November 23, 2010
Read Press Release

"...Her leadership role at Coca-Cola shows that she lacks the integrity and compassion to serve as Chancellor or a role model for young people...

"This appointment should not be about money and politics and what Big Business wants, but what is best for the children of New York City's School System. The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, all parents and teachers demand that State and City political leaders do what's right for the City's children."