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Newsletter: Stop Killer Coke, the Drink that Represses!

February 21, 2012

Contents

  1. SINALTRAINAL leader and Coke worker murdered
  2. United Farm Workers rejects Coke's sponsorship
  3. Students win victory at University of Vermont
  4. Seeking proxies for annual shareholders meeting
  5. Donations-through Campaign Store
  6. Download our latest English and French flyers
  7. Articles

1. SINALTRAINAL leader and Coke worker murdered

On January 26, 2012, in Barranquilla, 48-year old father and SINALTRAINAL leader and Coke worker Ricardo Ramon Paublott Gomez was murdered by gunfire. Two unidentified assailants boarded the public bus on which Paublott Gomez was traveling, They proceeded to intimidate the passengers and the driver and shot Ricardo.

AFL-CIO Letter to Pres. Obama regarding the murders of unionists in Colombia

February 1, 2012

Dear President Obama:

I am writing on behalf of the over twelve million members of the AFL-CIO to express my profound shock upon learning that reports confirm the killing of two more Colombian trade unionists with two other alleged killings still under investigation...

On January 26, in Barranquilla, reports indicate that Ricardo Ramon Paublot Gomez, a leader from Sinaltrainal, the National Union of Food Workers, who was employed by the National Industry of Sodas-Industria Nacional de Gaseosas S.A. (Coca-Cola) was murdered by gunfire.

I am both alarmed and outraged by these murders, especially as they have taken place in such quick succession. I fear that the passage of the Colombia FTA has now given a green light to the enemies of democratic labor unions in Colombia to launch a new wave of anti-union violence, just as happened in Guatemala after the signing of DR-CAFTA.

What's more, Human Rights Watch has recently issued a report, which concludes that the U.S. State Department is not enforcing the human rights conditions imposed upon U.S. aid to Colombia. This is very troubling, and I hope you will ask the State Department to look into the report's finding and respond in a timely way.

I urge you to postpone indefinitely the implementation of the FTA, making it clear to the Colombian government that it will not be implemented until such anti-union violence ceases and workers can exercise their rights to organize and bargain without fear. I further urge you to ensure that the State Department and other U.S. agencies comply in full with the human rights conditions imposed on military aid to Colombia and to further investigate the recent killings of union leaders and activists, which are intensifying.

Sincerely,

Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

Read entire letter

SINALTRAINAL's Story on the Murder of Ricardo Ramon Paublot Gomez.

2. United Farm Workers rejects Coke's sponsorship

Earlier this month, our campaign was contacted by Dave Oddo, a supporter of the campaign. He had discovered that the United Farm Workers (UFW) convention was being sponsored by Coca-Cola with a $10,000 donation. Dave contacted UFW Executive Assistant to the President Teresa Romero, to protest the "tainted donation." After looking at the UFW's website and indeed seeing Coke's sponsorship of the convention, our campaign also sent an email to the UFW (See letters below).

On February 15, Dave notified us that the sponsorship was no longer on the UFW site and Ms. Romero confirmed that the relationship had been terminated.

Good job, Dave, and thanks UFW! Hopefully, other organizations will follow their example.

Campaign supporter, Dave Oddo.

# # #

Dear Teresa Romero,

I enjoyed speaking with you last week, in order to express my deep reservations with regard to the UFW's acceptance of a $10,000 "Crystal Eagle" sponsorship donation from the Coca-Cola Company.

Could you please inform me as to the current status of this tainted donation?

I remain hopeful that the UFW will do the right thing, and that it will donate the $10,000 to the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke (www.killercoke.org)

Another course of action would be to donate the money directly to SINALTRAINAL, which is the principal labor union that represents Coca-Cola workers in Colombia.

You may contact Mr. Ray Rogers via the Killer Coke website, in order to obtain contact information for SINALTRAINAL.

Si Se Puede.
David G. Oddo
UFW Supporter since 1968

# # #

I have just been made aware that you have received a Crystal Eagle sponsorship from The Coca-Cola Co. and are promoting Coke on your website. As a long-time supporter of farmworker struggles, I am appalled at this relationship.

Are you aware of Coca-Cola's widespread labor and human rights abuses, especially those against unionists in Colombia and Guatemala who are involved in a life and death struggle against the Company? This decision to take the $10,000 from such a corporation flies in the face of the history of the UFW.

If you are not aware of the campaign against Coke's worldwide abuses, please go to http://www.killercoke.org.

A few years ago, poet and professor Martin Espada read his poetry in Kansas sponsored by Coca-Cola. When he became aware of Coke's abuses, he decided to take the payment, speak out against Coke's abuses in Colombia and donate the money he received from Coke to SINALTRAINAL, the main union that represents Coke workers in Colombia. Here's a link to a press release with Espada's statement: http://killercoke.org/prespada.php.

I would hope that you would do the same.

In solidarity,
Lew Friedman

3. Students win victory at University of Vermont

After several years of campaigning against Coca-Cola's human rights and environmental abuses, a major breakthrough occurred last month at UVM. The 10-year exclusive contract expired and the university has decided not to renew it and to completely drop bottled water.

"UVM will end Coca-Cola contract, ban sale of bottled water" by Free Press Staff, January 31, 2012, Burlington Free Press
Read Article

"The end of UVM's [University of Vermont] exclusive arrangement with a major bottler comes after years of lobbying by students, who have waged campaigns urging a bottled-water ban and criticizing the Coca-Cola Corp. The 10-year contract with Coca-Cola of Northern New England permitted the company to provide all beverages in vending machines and 80 percent of the bottled drinks served in residence halls and other venues, for a total of about 1.1 million bottles annually, UVM said.

"Beginning July 1, UVM said in an announcement, Sodexo — the company that operates UVM dining services — will chose a mix of beverages through its national contracts and local connections, as will the UVM Bookstore and the CAT Pause store in the Davis Center."

4. Seeking proxies for annual shareholders meeting

Although we have no exact date of the Coca-Cola annual meeting, we do know that it will take place in April, so we are preparing to participate once again. WE NEED YOUR PROXIES for the 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.

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.

In early March, stockholders should be receiving their notice of the annual meeting and proxy cards 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 proxy holders plan to attend the shareholders' meeting and would like to join us in the activities, please contact us.

Please consider making a donation to the Campaign by check or via PayPal from our website to help pay for the mobile billboards as shown below and to defray the expense of the Campaign's presence at the annual meeting.

5. Donations-through Campaign Store

Another method of supporting the Campaign is to donate at the Campaign store. We have tee-shirts, a film and buttons which supporters can get for a donation.

Tee-shirts:

"The Coca-Cola Case"

Buttons

291

6. Download our latest English and French flyers at:

We have posted our basic Stop KillerCoke flyer in both English and French (Canada) for downloading at http://www.killercoke.org/literature_flyers.php. The flyers are meant to print back-to-back, two to a page.

We'd like to thank Anais Chenel-Trudelle from Francois-Xavier-Garneau College in Quebec City (QC, Canada) for the translation and formatting.

7. Articles:

a. "Pepsi replaces Coca-Cola at Gwinnett Arena" by Christopher Seward, January 11, 2012, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Read Article

In April 2009 and April 2010, The Coca-Cola Co. held its annual shareholders meetings at the luxurious Gwinnett Center's Grand Ballroom in Duluth, Georgia, about 27 miles north of Atlanta. At each meeting, our Campaign had a strong presence; We were treated with respect by local police, staff and others as our Stop Killer Coke huge mobile billboard made its rounds throughout the Center's parking lot and surrounding area. This is a big deal — Pepsi has scored a major coup in Coca-Cola's backyard.

"In a coup for Pepsi, the soft drink company has grabbed pouring rights from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. at the Gwinnett Center."

b. "Super-size shock: Ad campaign links soda intake with amputations; Portions have grown, and so has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations" by Reuven Blau and Kevin Deutsch, New York Daily News, January 10, 2012
Read Article

"Those super-sized sodas you're drinking could lead to an amputation, a shocking ad campaign launched by the Health Department warns...

The city Health Department's controversial new ad campaign targets super-sized portions, showing an obese man who lost his right leg through amputation because of Type 2 diabetes.