Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Coca-Cola threatens union workers in Colombia


Don't Let Coke Fire Union Workers in Colombia! From: list-owner@campaignforlaborrights.org [Information for this alert comes from www.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 Isdell today! 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. 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 stop." To fax a letter go to: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/cokefirings/dwwu664qk5i6n 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 Workers! 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. Sincerely,Yournamehere.

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