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What are Coke's Responses to Charges in "The Coke Machine"

Never Asked

Has anyone on the board read "The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink" by Michael Blanding published last September? How does the Board react to charges made in the book that:

Coca-Cola has systematically torpedoed health, labor and environmental standards internationally. Blanding has seen firsthand the devastation the company has wreaked on communities around the globe - from India and Mexico, where bottling plants are suspected of decimating water supplies and spreading toxic pollution; to Colombia, where Coke union organizers are being killed for trying to protect their rights; to America, where Coke has tried to stonewall and circumvent every effort to curtail its aggressive marketing of its unhealthy beverages to children.

Blanding also described a report by the International Labor Organization which criticized Coke bottlers "for hostility toward unionization, with managers threatening workers against joining unions and punishing them with withheld pay, repeated dismissals and even assaults if they did." The report also criticized Coke's practice of subcontracting... 75 or 80 percent of workers...Those workers received lower wages and worked far longer hours than the full-time workers--in some cases even required to work twenty-four hour shifts."

Information in another book, "Belching Out the Devil" is also very troubling, but is supported in greater detail in "The Coke Machine." For example, is it true that Coca-Cola offered to pay at least eight figures, that is, at least ten million dollars or more to end the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke and to settle the human rights abuse lawsuits in Colombia.

At the same time according to Thomas's and Blanding's books and the documentary, "The Coca-Cola Case," Coca-Cola demanded "anyone working for Coca-Cola FEMSA and involved in the lawsuits had to leave their jobs ... and would be legally bound never to criticize Coca-Cola ever again." This would mean the union SINALTRAINAL "would be finished and cease to exist in the Coca-Cola plants."

Furthermore, Thomas describes child laborers working in brutal and dangerous conditions in sugar cane fields for Coke's sugar supplier in El Salvador, Indian workers exposed to toxic chemicals and Colombian labor union leaders in Coke bottling plants falsely accused of terrorism and jailed alongside the paramilitaries who want to kill them.