[Marxism] LABOUR ALERTS: Don't Let Coke Fire Union Workers in Colombia!
eugene at union.org.za
Sat Jul 24 03:23:20 MDT 2004
Take a minute to send solidarity messages on these campaigns:
Don't Let Coke Fire Union Workers in Colombia!
July 22, 2004
[Information for this alert comes from unionvoice.org and
United Students Against Sweatshops ]
Call Coca-Cola Now! Demand the End of Union Busting,
Intimidation and Murder!
Call or write Coke's Chief Executive Officer Neville
Recently the Social Protection Ministry of Colombia
granted Coca-Cola's bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA permission to
dismiss 63 workers from Coke's bottling plants, half of
whom are members of SINALTRAINAL, the Colombian food and
beverage union. In order to carry out the firings,
Coca-Cola FEMSA will request that union protection be
removed from the 31 union leaders. This means that in less
than two months the union could be completely eliminated
from Coke's plants and these workers could be forced out
of their jobs without security protection! The union is
concerned that as soon as their members are no longer
employed by Coke, there will be another string of murders
by paramilitaries who are reluctant to kill union leaders
as long as they continue to be employed by Coke because
"their deaths would create problems for the company."
SINALTRAINAL is asking that people in the United States
and abroad put as much pressure as possible on Coke right
now! The World Social Forum declared today to be the
International Day of Action Against Coca-Cola, marking the
one-year anniversary of the launching of the International
Campaign Against Coca-Cola. Please take action today, in
solidarity with actions around the world, to demand that
Coke stop its violent union busting, and protect its
workers' right to the freedom of association.
On behalf of the workers and their families, please send a
strong message to The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola
FEMSA in Colombia on today's international day of action.
Please call Coke's Chief Executive Officer Neville Isdell
at (404) 676-2121 today!
Sample phone script:
"Hello, my name is ______________. I demand that you do
not allow Coca-Cola FEMSA to dismiss the 63 SINALTRAINAL
workers at your Colombian bottling plants and stop the
continued union busting campaign. Additionally, Coke must
respect the right to organize of everyone involved in
producing its product and assure a stop to the campaign of
murder and intimidation against its Colombian bottlers. I
am appalled that this situation has persisted and that
Coke has not made strong steps to ensure the safety and
freedom of its employees. I expect Coca-Cola to ensure
that the union workers are not dismissed, that all
bottlers and Coke employees are guaranteed the right to
organize, and that the horrific killing and intimidation
To fax a letter go to:
Or send this letter by regular mail to:
Chief Executive Officer Neville Isdell
The Coca-Cola Company,
P.O. Box 1734, Atlanta, GA 30301
Subject: Don't Let Coca-Cola FEMSA Dismiss Dozens of
Dear Mr. Isdell,
I am writing to you in protest of the action being taken
by your related company, Coca-Cola FEMSA in Colombia, to
dismiss 63 workers, among them 31 leaders of SINALTRAINAL
(National Food Workers Union). SINALTRAINAL sees this as a
violation of Articles 18 and 91 of their collective
bargaining agreement under which the workers must be
relocated to other positions or transferred to other
plants. We see this as violating the internationally
recognized right of workers to freedom of association and
nothing more than a move to completely eliminate the union
in Coca-Cola FEMSA.
Your company has already pressured more than 500 workers
from their employment. A prolonged reign of paramilitary
terror at Coca-Cola has resulted in nine workers being
killed, and 67 placed under death threat. Many have
suffered attempted murder, kidnappings, forced
displacement and deadly attacks on their families. The
company is also allegedly implicated in the burning of a
union office by Paramilitaries. Such are the issues
involved in the suit filed by SINALTRAINAL in the Southern
District Court of Florida against the Coca-Cola bottlers.
Responding to the current attempt to destroy the Union,
one SINALTRAINAL leader warned, "If we lose the fight
against Coca-Cola, we will first lose our union, next our
jobs and then our lives." The truth of that statement may
be imminent. Another Union leader now personally states
that if the firings take place and the union is broken,
"it makes things very complicated for me - in terms of my
security. This decision removes any political cost to the
paramilitaries who would assassinate me."
Your company must stop the union busting, observe the
workers' right to belong to their union, stop the
arbitrary dismissals and put a stop to the reign of
paramilitary terror. We implore you to discontinue this
prelude to a tragedy.
If this union-busting scheme plays out, the blood of the
workers will be on company hands and will stain the famous
trademark of Coca-Cola wherever the product is marketed.
The world is watching.
What's At Stake
Over the past decade nine union leaders at Coca-Cola
bottling plants have been killed in Colombia in connection
with union negotiations. Most recently, this past April,
two members of Coca-Cola union leader Efrain Guerrero's
family were killed in their home while union negotiations
were taking place. Additionally, paramilitary groups
routinely intimidate union members and their families. By
not insuring the safety of the workers in its bottling
plants, Coke is complicit in the string of murders,
torture, and kidnappings affecting its employees.
SINALTRAINAL has fought for years to improve the working
conditions and lives of workers in Coke's Colombian
bottling plants. This recent decision could be a
devastating blow to the struggle against Coke, and to
workers' freedom of association. We must act strongly
today and send a clear message to Coca-Cola: we won't
stand for union busting and murder.
Campaign for Labor Rights supports SINALTRAINAL's call for
Coca-Cola FEMSA to halt plans to dismiss the 63 workers
from Coke's bottling plants. Additionally, Coke must
ensure the protection of the lives and rights of all of
their employees. CLR demands that Coca-Cola halt the
removal of SINALTRAINAL workers from its Colombian
bottling plants and that Coke stop the killing and
intimidation of its workers!
William Mendoza, the President of SINALTRAINAL writes:
The judicial system in this country is now making its
decisions based on politics rather than the law. The most
likely outcome is that Coca-Cola (with its economic,
political, and legal power) will apply pressure so that
the decision comes out in its favor and it can dismiss the
union leaders. This will then conclude the greatest infamy
against an organization that struggles to improve the
conditions of workers and in favor of the human rights of
We're calling on all our comrades in the struggle,
nationally and internationally, to support us in this
difficult confrontation with one of the most violent and
bloodthirsty corporations. We're calling on you to
participate on July 22 - which was declared (by the World
Social Forum) an international day of action against
Coca-Cola. We're also asking that you protest to the U.S.
embassy about the policies of this company that is a
symbol of American empire and implements the scorched
earth policies in these countries.
Once again, we're glad that you're with us.
Hasta la Victoria Siempre
William Mendoza, President SINALTRAINAL
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