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2,500 Coke workers in Colombia ordered to resign or be dismissed

Coca-Cola's main bottler in Latin America, Coca-Cola FEMSA, recently announced plans to close nine bottling plants in Colombia, which could leave 2,500 workers without jobs. The managers halted production at those plants and are pressuring workers to resign from their contracts in exchange for a lump-sum payment-- "voluntary retirement." The workers have been told that if they don't "resign," they will be dismissed.
Coca-Cola's main bottler in Latin America, Coca-Cola FEMSA, recently announced plans to close nine bottling plants in Colombia, which could leave 2,500 workers without jobs. The managers halted production at those plants and are pressuring workers to resign from their contracts in exchange for a lump-sum payment-- "voluntary retirement." The workers have been told that if they don't "resign," they will be dismissed. Due to the high unemployment in Colombia, many of the employees fear the loss of their jobs will keep them from being able to support their families when the severance offered by FEMSA runs out. The production of these plants will be shifted to 'super bottling plants' in other cities in Colombia.
The Coca-Cola workers' union, SINALTRAINAL, has established "centers of resistance" in front of the plants that are being shut down. Workers are refusing to resign, and union leaders are calling on activists and supporters in the United States to pressure Coke in order to stop these closures.
Violence against the union has increased during the past month. On August 22, paramilitary gunmen attempted to kill Juan Carlos Galvis, vice president of the union in Barrancabermeja. Juan Carlos' bodyguards were forced to fire back but, fortunately, no one was hurt. On September 10, the 15-year-old son of union leader Limberto Carranza was kidnapped and tortured in Barranquilla by four men who repeatedly questioned him about his father's location.
Since 1990, paramilitary groups in Colombia have murdered seven Coke union leaders. None of these deaths have resulted in any prosecution for those responsible by the Colombian legal system - which is notorious for its failure to prosecute human rights violators. As a result, the Colombian union, the United Steelworkers of America, and the International Labor Rights Fund, filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola in 2001. In addition, student groups, activists, unionists, and people of faith from throughout the world are boycotting Coca-Cola products in order to pressure the corporation to take action in Colombia.
Coca-Cola has denied any link between itself, its bottlers, and the paramilitary attacks. Coke has also refused the requests of SINALTRAINAL to publicly denounce anti-union violence in Colombia, to designate a human rights ombudsperson at the Colombian plants, to investigate the ties between bottling plant managers and the paramilitaries, and to provide compensation to the victims.
Throughout the 1990's, Coke bottling plants in Colombia laid off more than 10,000 workers in a drive to reduce labor costs. Previously, the majority of workers at the plants had long-term contracts that provided benefits and job security. Now, 84 percent of the workers are temporary employees or contractors - many of whom earn the minimum wage of 119 US dollars per month and have no benefits.
This lay off of up to 2,500 workers would be the greatest of its kind. According to Coke, for every employee it has in Colombia, ten additional jobs are created, which means that nearly 25,000 people stand to lose their livelihood.
In Barrancabermeja, the company attempted to buy-off William Mendoza, the president of the local union, hoping that if William would resign, the rest of the employees would do the same. William, who makes just 270 US dollars a month, turned down the offer of $45,000. Instead, William and the vast majority of the workers are continuing to resist, and they're calling for people around world to contact Coca-Cola and urge the company to keep the plants open in Colombia and stop the violence against the workers.

Please take action at:  http://www.caja.org/coke/index.htm

homepage: homepage: http://www.caja.org
phone: phone: 406-829-0512

Coca-Cola - murder, kidnappings, layoffs and rat droppings 25.Sep.2003 13:45


It seems that over the past five years, Coca Cola has lost control over product safety. Coca Cola has not enforced strict controls over processing plants producing its products despite a contamination scare that caused Coke products to be banned in several European countries and a string of recent recalls.

MURDER - It's the real thing
MURDER - It's the real thing

oh yes 25.Sep.2003 15:27

for the best one supposes

Well, as Coke was hopelessly committed to supplanting native beverages and doubtless engaged in a form of chattel slavery in its business dealings in Columbia I'm sure those laid off and their families are deeply grateful to have excaped servitude to gringolandian exploitation.

I pray, as I am sure of all of us do, that Lations drive the gringos completly from their lands and return once again to the rich culture and earnest religious practices of their Incan, Mayan, Aztec forbearers. If only the Norte Americano's and their vampirism could be plucked from off of the backs of these people they could return to those halcyon pre-wheel days when life was lived in accord to indigious priciples.

images 25.Sep.2003 17:27

enemy of imigism

The fellow in the graphic, the one up above? Am I mis-remembering or had he not just murdered the family of a dear friend of the man who caught and shot him?

Hadn't Viet Cong cadres and NVA regulars been on a rampage of terror and assination that afternoon. Tet Offensive right? Was that Hue City?

Might be mis-remembering. Don't want to refight the Vietnam War, just trying to check context against referrent.

Anyway, the background of the fellow with the white stream of the REAL THING pouring out his right ear ought to be easily looked into. It's an icongraphic image that has gotta have a backstory. Check the web.

Yes, let us put things in proper context 25.Sep.2003 22:13


The Viet Cong were fighting to defend their land, people, women, children, and elderly against foreign, capitalist, racist invaders who slaughtered civilians without much differentiation or discrimination. The VC considered the capitalist collaborators as the enemy of the people, and rightfully so. The collaborators helped the Americans slaughter civilians left and right. The terror the VC suffered had admittedly desensitised them. I doubt that you or I could escape such feelings as entire families and villages were killed and then razed as if they had never been there. How many Americans were killed in Vietnam? 80,000. How many Vietnamese were killed? 3.5 million. Let's keep that context in mind. Vietnam of the 60s and 70s is not comparable to the "gee violence is real bad" USA of 2003. You have organised violence to thank for ending the Vietnam war, "enemy of imigism." If the working class US grunts had not openly killed ("fragged") so many middle-class US officers, thereby immobilising the most powerful army of that time, the war in Vietnam would have continued on.


The picture that LaTuff used to satirise Coca-Cola is perfect, because it represents one collaborator native killing another native, all for the benefit of foreign white capitalists who saw them all as "gooks" anyways. That's what happened in Colombia with Coca-Cola. Colombian death squads killing other Colombians all for the profit of USA's Coca-Cola.

As a side note, the man in the picture who shot the prisoner later moved to the US since people in Vietnam threatened and taunted him as the mercenary collaborator he was. He opened a Vietnamese restaurant that later had to close because so many Vietnamese-Americans threatened and taunted him in his new life. They hadn't forgotten how he had sold out his own people and helped the Americans kill everyone who didn't support the invaders.

?? 26.Sep.2003 16:20


what is hte backstory on the man in the picture?