International Labor Rights Fund Campaign to STOP KILLER COKE
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We need your help to stop a gruesome cycle of murders, kidnappings and torture of SINALTRAINAL (National Union of Food Industry Workers) union leaders and organizers involved in daily life-and-death struggles at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia.
In July 2001, the United Steelworkers of America and the International Labor Rights Fund (www.laborrights.org) filed a lawsuit on behalf of SINALTRAINAL, several of its members and the estate of Isidro Gil, one of its murdered officers. The lawsuit and campaign aim to force Coca-Cola to prevent further bloodshed and to provide safe working conditions.
Coca-Cola bottlers “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilize extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders,” the lawsuit states.
It also notes that Colombian troops connected with the paramilitaries have trained at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, Ga., where trainees were encouraged to torture and murder those who do “union organizing and recruiting;” pass out “propaganda in favor of workers;” and “sympathize with demonstrators or strikes.” This was made public when the Pentagon was forced to reveal the contents of training manuals used at the school. (For more information, see www.soaw.org, the website of SOA Watch.)
The year that the lawsuit was filed, The Coca-Cola Co. made $4 billion in profits and paid its CEO, Douglas Daft, more than $105 million. Coca-Cola continues to rake in billions each year, yet the frightening conditions at the Coke plants remain unchanged. Labor unions and human rights advocates in the United States can stop these atrocities at Coca-Cola’s bottling plants.
Please read the exposés on <www.killercoke.org>. The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke will move the fight to the doorsteps and into the boardrooms of Coca-Cola and its key financial ally, SunTrust Banks. As long as SunTrust, “the bank of Killer Coke,” maintains its intimate ties to Coke through board interlocks, large stock holdings and credit relationships, SunTrust, along with Coca-Cola, will be a principal target of this campaign.
We ask you to take part in this most important struggle. Any contribution you can make to the campaign will serve as a critical building block and act of solidarity to help end one of the ugliest chapters in labor history. Please make a financial contribution, participate in protest activities and mail in the coupon below. By working together, we can protect our sisters and brothers and restrain corporations like SunTrust and Coke that behave so immorally and irresponsibly. Any support you give will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.
Javier Correa, President, Sinaltrainal
William Mendoza, President of SINALTRAINAL, Barrancabermeja.
Ray Rogers, Director, Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
Posted: Fri - August 1, 2003 at 08:21 PM