22.1.06

killer coke

PhotoDear 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.

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