Campus / Killer Coke / News / November 5, 2009

Killer Coke campaign claims

– Several incidences involving violence on union workers at Coca-Cola bottling plants occurred at the hands of Colombian paramilitary groups throughout the 1990s. The most significant charge took place in 1996.

– On December 5, 1996, Colombian workers at a Coca-Cola bottling plant, owned by a separate company, Bebidas y Alimentos, were kidnapped and killed by a right-wing paramilitary squad in Carepa.

– Paramilitary groups have assassinated at least five union leaders within the Coca-Cola bottling plants.

– In 1999, Coca-Cola established a bottling plant in the Indian village of Kaladera, which subsequently experienced a large decrease in its water supply. That particular bottling plant has since been evicted by the citizens of Kaladera, but Killer Coke maintains that the use of water in the manufacturing of Coca-Cola products in India is depriving Indians of both drinking water and adequate agricultural irrigation.

– In 2005, workers at a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Turkey joined a union and afterwards were terminated by the managers of the plant.

Further information and counterclaims

– The Killer Coke campaign, spearheaded by union activist Ray Rogers, earned a lot of press in 2005. While about 40 colleges went through with banning Coca-Cola from their campuses, the most influential of which were arguably New York University and the University of Michigan. Many others issued official statements admonishing Coca-Cola without instituting a ban. Since the initial Killer Coke student activist movements, several colleges, including NYU and the University of Michigan, have rescinded the ban, after Coca-Cola underwent an investigation into the Colombian incidents by the independent International Labor Organization in 2006.

– One of the largest global labor unions, the International Union of Foodworkers, does not support Ray Rogers’ Killer Coke campaign. The IUF includes thousands of Coke workers and has launched its own separate protests on various Coca-Cola-owned plants across the globe for unrelated reasons.

– The entire nation of India is in the midst of a severe water crisis, due to a combination of unfavorable climate patterns, gross infrastructural mismanagement and extremely high population densities. The total amount of water used in India by all soft drink and bottled water manufacturers, including both Coca-Cola and Pepsi, is less than 0.04 percent of industrial water usage in India, as of 2007.

– This information was collected from sources including BusinessWeek, The Economist and several university news publications.

Rachel Perez

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