Something more serious: Coca-Cola’s union busting campaign in Columbia continues.

[See the full details on my personal blog – said posting includes a sample letter to Coca-Cola’s top management via their PR person. This is only the latest in a long string of vicious human rights abuses by the Coca-Cola company’s local proxy in Columbia. Please write – the only way we’ll preserve our standard of living and rights in the workplace here in the United States, is to ensure that those abroad have the same freedoms. Your letters could mean the difference between life and death for these workers. -Thomas]

Dear Friends,

This morning, Monday March 15, Coca-Cola union workers

in Colombia began a hunger strike in front of the Coke

bottling plants in Barrancabermeja, Bogotá,

Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín, and

Valledupar. Juan Carlos Galvis, vice president of the

local union in Barrancabermeja, has said, “If we lose

the fight against Coca-Cola, we will first lose our

union, next our jobs and then our lives.”

On September 9, 2003, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola’s

largest Colombian bottler, closed the production lines

at 11 of their 16 bottling plants. (The Coca-Cola

Company shares several board members with Coca-Cola

FEMSA and owns 46.4 % of its voting stock.) Since then,

they’ve pressured more than 500 workers into

“voluntarily resigning” from their contracts in

exchange for a lump-sum payment. Most of the union

leaders have refused to resign and the company has now

escalated the pressure against them. On February 25,

the Colombian Ministry of Social Protection (Labor)

authorized Coca-Cola FEMSA’s plans to dismiss 91

workers – 70 percent of whom are union leaders. This is

Coca-Cola’s effort to essentially eliminate the union.

The Campaign To Stop Killer Coke supports the union’s

call for Coca-Cola FEMSA to relocate those workers to

other positions within those plants or to transfer them

to other plants. This is what the company is required

to do, according to Articles 18 and 91 of the current

collective bargaining agreements. In January, a

Colombian judge also ordered the company to do this for

the workers at the plants in Barrancabermeja and

Cúcuta.

On behalf of the workers and their families, please

send the strongest possible message to The Coca-Cola

Company in Atlanta and Coca-Cola FEMSA in Colombia.

Here are sample messages and contact information, along

with a communication that was issued by the union this

morning.

In Solidarity,

Ray Rogers

Director

Campaign To Stop Killer Coke

212-979-8320

http://www.killercoke.org

[email protected]

Please read on…

Thomas Leavitt