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The Stop Killer Coke Spring Offensive

April 19, 2012 Newsletter

Contents

  1. Join Occupy Atlanta & Campaign at Annual Meeting protest on April 25
  2. Lawsuit describes Coca-Cola plants in NY as "cesspools of racial discrimination"
  3. Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice article on Killer Coke
  4. If Coca-Cola Doesn't Market to Kids, Why do They Sell Toys?
  5. The Party People, "Don't Drink Coke," Translation and Video by Alan Lucero
  6. Coca-Cola keeps Italian orange suppliers after protests
  7. ToxiCola, videos from Mexico in Spanish and English
  8. To avoid cancer warnings on labels, Coke alters recipe
  9. Coke's artificial diet sweetener causes neurological side effects
  10. Protests force Coke to withdraw from ultra-right-wing ALEC

1. Join Occupy Atlanta & Campaign at Annual Meeting protest on Wednesday, April 25

Join the protest beginning at 8:15 am. We have protest signs for all, which can be taken back to schools, union halls, etc.

To view the live webcast of the meeting, you can visit http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/investors/shareowner_meeting. An archived copy of the webcast will be available until approximately June 30, 2012.

Occupy Atlanta Joins Forces With The Campaign To Stop Killer Coke
Read Article

The 2012 Annual Meeting with be held:

  • Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 9:30 a.m., local time, protest begins at 8:15 am
  • Cobb Galleria Centre
  • Two Galleria Parkway
  • Atlanta, Georgia 30339
  • Click here to support the Campaign

2. Lawsuit describes Coca-Cola plants in NY as "cesspools of racial discrimination"

The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke is communicating with a group of NY State Coca-Cola workers, a group of black and Latino workers charging that Coke is a "cesspool of racial discrimination". The Daily News dubbed them the Coke 16, although the group is growing much larger.

Take a look at "The Coke 16" Facebook page and click on "Like". Following is the Daily News article:

"Coke's not it: 16 workers sue, call giant 'cesspool' of racial discrimination
"Say they were given lesser assignments, unfairly disciplined and retaliated against for complaining"
By John Marzulli, New York Daily News, Friday, March 16, 2012

Read Article

"Sixteen black and Hispanic production workers are suing Coca-Cola, claiming they have been forced to work in a " cesspool of racial discrimination."

"The suit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, accuses the company of relegating minorities to less favorable assignments, unfair disciplinary action and retaliation for complaining.

" 'Coca-Cola circles its wagons and calls (the plaintiffs) "nuts" and "ingrates," ' said their lawyer, Steven Morelli.

"Several plaintiffs say they were subjected to racial epithets, and the people who used them went unpunished, according to the complaint.

"The suits are centered on two production plants — one in Maspeth, Queens, and another in Elmsford in Westchester.

"Sondra Walker said that when she was hired as a merchandiser at the Maspeth plant, she felt like she "had hit Lotto" because Coca Cola is such a prestigious company.

" 'I've never been called so many names as I have been at Coca-Cola,' Walker told the Daily News, citing 'Nappy Head' and 'Aunt JaMamma' as examples.

"Walker describes in the complaint an incident when a white worker wore a Confederate flag on his head and another in which a white employee complaining about cleaning a sewer allegedly said: 'What am I, a n----- or something?'

" 'I thought this was a fair and honest company, as American as apple pie,' said plaintiff Guillermo Nunez, who says he has suffered emotionally because of the treatment. 'I thought I had made it. It was my American Dream.'

"Coca-Cola spokesman Toney Anaya said the company does not tolerate discrimination in the workplace.

" 'We take this matter seriously and are investigating the allegations,' Anaya said in a statement.

Let's not forget that Coke also had to pay out a $192.5 million settlement for racial discrimination back in 2001.

Ingram vs. The Coca-Cola Company: http://www.findjustice.com/cases/civil-rights/racial-equality/results/coca-cola/

"Cyrus Mehri served as co-lead counsel in a suit against The Coca-Cola Company representing four named plaintiffs and a class of 2,200 current and former salaried African-American employees. The suit alleged that Coca-Cola employed racially discriminatory business practices that limited the professional advancement of African-American employees.

"Among a long list of allegedly inequitable business practices, the plaintiffs alleged a substantial difference in pay between African-American and white employees; a "glass ceiling" that kept African-Americans from advancing past entry-level management positions; "glass walls" that channeled African-Americans to management in areas like human resources and away from power centers such as marketing and finance ; and that senior management had knowledge of these inequities since 1995 and failed to implement policies to remedy them."

It should also be noted that in 2010 Coke had to pay $495K in back wages, plus interest, to 95 black and Hispanic job-seekers after a federal investigation showed a hiring bias against minority workers. As with this case, Coke denied any wrongdoing.

"Coca-Cola to pay $495K on discrimination claims," By theGrio, 10/08/2010
Read Article

"The second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S. will pay $495,000 to settle a federal case involving charges of racially discriminatory hiring practices.

"The Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, a Charlotte-based firm that is separate from the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company, will pay the money in back wages plus interest to 95 black and Hispanic job-seekers who applied for sales positions in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Labor."

3. Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice article on Killer Coke

Read Article in .PDF

The ICPJ article about the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke can be found on page 3 of this newsletter.

4. If Coca-Cola Doesn't Market to Kids, Why do They Sell Toys? March 6, 2012, By Weighty Matter

Read Article

"Looking at Amazon.com's online Toys and Games category there are 719 different Coca-Cola branded toys, including dolls with packaging that clearly states they're for kids aged 3+, 100 piece puzzles aimed at the more sophisticated 5+ crowd, Barbies, stuffed animals, toy cars and more....

"...what's shameful is what seems, at least on the surface, as a bald faced lie that Coca-Cola doesn't specifically hold children squarely in their marketing cross hairs."

5. The Party People, "Don't Drink Coke," Song Translation and Video by Alan Lucero

See Video

6. "Coca-Cola keeps Italian orange suppliers after protests" by Massimiliano Di Giorgio, Reuters, March 6, 2012

Read Article

"Coca-Cola gave in to pressure from Italian orange producers and said on Tuesday it would continue buying from local suppliers to produce its Fanta soda in spite of a report denouncing the tough work conditions of immigrant fruit pickers.

"The move by the U.S. soft-drink giant came after a report in British magazine The Ecologist last month shone a light on the situation of immigrant workers in the southern Calabria town of Rosarno, the scene of racial clashes two years ago...

"Some 8,000 illegal immigrants work in the southern Calabria region, which was the scene of the worst episode of racial unrest in Italy in years in early 2010. Most come from Africa and work as day labourers picking fruit and vegetables.

"Many of them live in abandoned factories with no running water or electricity and human rights groups say they are exploited by organized crime.

"Competition from other global producers of oranges such as Mexico, Brazil or the United States is also pressuring local farmers, keeping local wages as low as 25 euros ($33) a day, Alberto Callello, a local farmer, told The Ecologist.

" 'I get 7 cents per kilo for industrial oranges (used for concentrates) but need 8 cents per kilo to pay workers, so there is a paradox,' he said, according to the magazine. 'At the end of the chain is a clash with poor people.' "

It seems that Coca-Cola pays so little for the oranges that go into Fanta, that wages remain very low. Coke has to be pressured to raise the price they pay for oranges by a few pennies a kilo.

"News investigation Coca Cola challenged over orange harvest linked to 'exploitation and squalor'" by Andrew Wasley, 24th February, 2012, The Ecologist
Read Article

"The manufacturer of Fanta [a Coca-Cola beverage] is being urged to help address the poor conditions and low wages endured by some African migrant workers harvesting oranges in southern Italy...

"It is perhaps the worst address in Western Europe. A ramshackle slum with a noisy road on one side, a railway on another, and a stagnant-looking river flowing close-by. The camp itself consists of little more than a collection of shoddily-erected canvas tents and some abandoned buildings and sheds.

Behind the wire fence, fires burn amid piles of rubbish - discarded wholesale-sized tins of olive oil, plastic bottles, newspapers, food scraps and other unidentifiable filth. Woodsmoke stings your eyes. As the winter sun falls, the scene is almost apocalyptic; dozens of migrants swarm around us - cooking, chopping firewood, calling out, trying to keep warm - their figures silhouetted against the flames.

"They are from Africa - Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast - and this squalid camp, where doctors say conditions are as bad, or worse, than in refugee camps in war zones, is currently home to at least two hundred itinerants."

7. ToxiCola, videos from Mexico in Spanish and English

This was sent to us by friends in Mexico, El Poder del Consumidor A.C. We had to convert it into a video in order to post it and added the song, "Drink of the Death Squads" by David Rovics.

In Spanish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukMXV132Dj0

This video was sent to us by our friends in Mexico — El Poder del Consumidor A.C. This version was translated into English in Mexico. In order to post this we had to convert into a video and we added the song "Drink of the Death Squads" by David Rovics.

In English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YID_KCWVcrw

8. To avoid cancer warnings on labels, Coke alters recipe

At each Coca-Cola annual shareholders' meeting, shareholders and proxies have brought up the health dangers in Coke products, including high fructose corn syrup, massive amounts of sugar, artificial sweetener aspartame, phosphoric acid, caramel coloring, and cans lined with Bisphenol A (BPA), as well as labor, human rights and environmental abuses.

At each meeting the Chair and CEO continues to deny that any health risks can be associated with Coke beverages.

"Coke and Pepsi alter recipe to avoid cancer warning", BBC News, March 9, 2012
Read Article

"Coca-Cola and Pepsi are changing the recipes for their drinks to avoid being legally obliged to put a cancer warning label on the bottle

"The new recipe for caramel colouring in the drinks has less 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) - a chemical which California has added to its list of carcinogens...

"Coca-Cola says there is no health risk to justify the change.

"Spokeswoman Diana Garza-Ciarlante told the Associated Press news agency they wanted to ensure their products 'would not be subject to the requirement of a scientifically unfounded warning.' "

"Research Finds Cancerous Chemical in Coca-Cola" by Aabha Rathee, Wall Street Cheat Sheet, March 6, 2012
Read Article

"A watchdog group on Monday petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban a carcinogenic coloring compound found in most colas even as regulators insisted the threat was overstated.

"A research study conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest found traces of the chemical 4-methylimidazole in samples of various sodas belonging to Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Whole Foods. The chemical, found in the caramel coloring agent used in the drinks, is a known carcinogenic with effects noted in rodents."

"Consumer group finds cancer-causing chemical in colas" by Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2012
Read Article

"In a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest called on officials to ban the use of caramel coloring in popular soft drinks, citing a possible cancer risk.

"This isn't the first time that CSPI has targeted the food additive that gives colas, including Coke and Pepsi, their familiar brown color. The organization first petitioned the FDA on the matter in 2011, noting that 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, which form when sugar is mixed with ammonia and sulfites to create caramel coloring, had been shown to cause lung, liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats."

9. Coke's artificial diet sweetener causes neurological side effects

"Aspartame's neurological side effects include blurred vision, headaches, seizures and more" by Aurora Geib, Natural News, March 14, 2012
Read Article

"The Rumsfeld Plague: Aspartame Brings Horror (Opinion)" by: Hesh Goldstein, Natural News, August 15, 2009
Read Article

"Dr. Blaylock goes on to add that what makes aspartame so dangerous is that it contains three neurotoxins: methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Methanol is a powerful neurotoxin whose exposure is carefully allowed by the EPA in minute levels in food and environmental exposure. Nutrasweet, however, provides levels that are seven times the amount the EPA will allow anyone to use. It's been known to produce blindness and cellular destruction in the brain and spinal cord, particularly the optic nerves.

"Apartic acid, on the other hand, produces cellular excitation. It is an excitotoxin that causes cell death in the brain and significantly affects neural developments in infants, resulting in behavioral changes and even hyperactivity in children. Phenylalanine, like aspartic acid, can also alter brain development during fetal formation and create a lowering of the seizure threshold."

10. Protests force Coke to withdraw from ultra-right-wing ALEC

In early April, the Coca-Cola Co. announced that they decided to break with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after a boycott threat by Color of Change and the Democratic Party was reported. In October, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke jumped on this issue and shortly thereafter published two articles on ALEC and Coke's relationship in our November 14, 2011 newsletter, which was sent out to tens of thousands of subscribers, including labor unions.

Coca-Cola had a relationship with ALEC, an ultra right-wing organization focusing on legislation to take the vote away from minorities, seniors and students; lobbying state legislatures to pass "Stand Your Ground" and union busting laws and undermining environmental regulations.

Coca-Cola has been aware of what ALEC is, certainly since October and most likely earlier, and the company seemed to have no difficulty with ALEC's initiatives until their bottom-line was threatened by exposure and boycott. Interestingly, one article noted that Pepsi's move to break with ALEC "actually came in January but was first reported...by NPR, may also have had a role in compelling Coca-Cola to drop its support for ALEC."

"Breaking: Progressive Movement Compels Coca-Cola to Pull Support from, ALEC Over Voter Suppression Effort"s by Faiz Shakir, Apr 4, 2012, thinkprogress.org
Read Article

"Prompted by a petition campaign by the progressive advocacy group Color of Change, Coca-Cola has pulled its support from ALEC, a right-wing corporate-funded front group which has been pushing voter restriction efforts around the country..."

"Lobbyists, Guns and Money" by PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times, March 25, 2012
Read Article

"Now, ALEC isn't single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters — a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda — is one good way to highlight what's going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back."

"ALEC and Coca-Cola: A 'Classic' Collaboration" | Center for Media and Democracy, www.prwatch.org
Read Article

"What is Coca-Cola doing behind closed doors with Koch Industries and other multinational corporations in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? Coca-Cola Refreshments' Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Gene Rackley, represents Coke on ALEC's "Private Enterprise" Board, along with Koch Industries' Michael Morgan.":