Monday, November 17, 2008


The following is a repeat of an appeal published earlier this year here at Molly's Blog. The United Students Against Sweatshops are Renewing Their Campaign to get the Coca Cola Company off the campus of Indiana University to protest their long standing horrendous labour and environmental practices. Here's the appeal.
Tell Indiana University to kick Coca-Cola off campus!:
For the last 3 years, students at Indiana University have been demanding that their administration cut its beverage contract with Coca-Cola. Coke is guilty of labor and environmental abuses around the world, including complicity in the murders of 10 union members in Colombia alone. Despite this, Indiana University administrators have re-opened contract negotiations with Coca-Cola, hoping to sign another contract!
Please email the Indiana University administration today to demand that they kick Killer Coke off campus!
You can also call Indiana University President McRobbie at (812) 855-4613. Below is a sample phone script:
Hello, my name is _____________ and I wanted to urge President McRobbie to end Indiana University's relationship with the Coca-Cola corporation. The evidence against Coke is overwhelming, and ending your relationship with them would send a strong message that they need to clean up their act. Indiana University is one of the nation's leading institutions of higher education, and should show its leadership by severing all ties with Coca-Cola. Thank you for your time.
Tell me more
You can also go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to the authorities at Indiana University.

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
IU President Michael McRobbie Indiana University President Michael McRobbie
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Tell Indiana University to kick Coca-Cola off campus!
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I'm writing to state my support for the Killer Coke campaign, led by No Sweat!, a student organization at Indiana University. I'm urging you to cease all business with the Coca-Cola corporation, because of what we deem to be Coke's inexcusable violations of human and workers' rights both here and abroad. These violations include:
-The contracting of paramilitary forces to murder, torture, unlawfully detain or effectively silence trade union leaders in Colombia;
-Overexploitation of water sources in India, Mexico, Ghana and elsewhere;
-Benefiting from hazardous child labor in sugar cane fields in El Salvador as documented by Human Rights Watch;
-Giving executives hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options and bonuses while laying off thousands of employees;
-A history of racial discrimination, fraudulent business practices, tax avoidance and corporate welfare schemes.
Because of all these things, it seems clear to me that Indiana University's duty as a leading institution of higher education in the United States, is to end its relationship with the Coca-Cola corporation. More than fifty other colleges and universities in the US and Canada have already taken similar action. I would urge you therefore, to act as a leader on this issue and take a stand in support of human and workers rights.
Indiana University Board of Trustees
Indiana University Trustee A.D. King
Indiana University Trustee Jack Gill
Indiana University Trustee Philip Eskew
Indiana University Trustee Thomas Reilly Jr.
Indiana University Trustee William Cast
Here's a little backgrounder on the activities of Coke in the country of Colombia.
What's At Stake:
Students at Indiana University have repeatedly met with IU administrators to demand that Coca-Cola's contract be cut, and nothing has happened - the contract stands and Coke allows more horrors to occur. Students have held protests, candlelight vigils, wrote editorials in the school newspaper, handed out informational fliers, made presentations to the student body and administrators alike - all to no avail.
Administrators refuse to listen to the demands of the university community. Coca-Cola is one of the world's most powerful and profitable corporations. In 2002, Coca-Cola earned nearly $4 billion in profits, enough to pay its Chairman, Douglas Daft, $105 million in compensation. Yet, despite repeated pleas for justice, Coca-Cola has not found the time or resources to offer safety to the workers who bottle its products or prevent massive environmental devastation in the communities where it does business.
Death Squads in Colombia:
Colombia has long been the most dangerous country in the world to organize a union. Since 1986, roughly 4000 Colombian trade unionists have been murdered. In 2000, three of every five trade unionists killed in the world were Colombian. The vast majority of these murders have been carried out by right-wing paramilitary groups (aka death squads) on an ideological mission to destroy the labor movement. These groups often work in collaboration with the official US-supported Colombian military, and in some instances with managers at plants producing for multinational corporations.
In the case of Coca-Cola, according to numerous credible reports, the company and its business partners have turned a blind eye to, financially supported, and actively colluded with paramilitary groups in efforts to destroy workers' attempts to organize unions and bargain collectively. -Since 1989, eight union leaders from Coca-Cola plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces. Dozens of other workers have been intimidated, kidnapped, or tortured.
-In Carepa, members of the paramilitary murdered union leader Isidro Gil in broad daylight inside his factory's gates. They returned the next day and forced all of the plant's workers to resign from their union by signing documents on Coca-Cola letterhead.
-Another murder attempt occurred on August 22, 2003, when two men riding motorcycles fired shots at Juan Carlos Galvis, a worker leader at Coca-Cola's Barrancabermeja plant.
-There is substantial evidence that managers of several bottling plants have ordered assaults to occur and made regular payments to leaders of the paramilitary groups carrying out the attacks. These ongoing abuses have taken their toll on Coca-Cola workers' efforts to organize. Their union, SINALTRAINAL, has suffered a dramatic loss in membership, as worker leaders are intimidated or forced into hiding. SINALTRAINAL has appealed for solidarity and allies in the US labor and social justice movements have answered their call.
The United Steelworkers and the International Labor Rights Fund have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola on behalf of the union and victims' families in a US federal court. Other unions including the Teamsters and many community groups have launched public campaigns targeting Coke. If history is a guide, students could be the force that finally moves Coke to stop denying responsibility and take action to protect its workers' lives. For more information, please visit
Campaign Expiration Date: July 19, 2009

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