Surviving Coca-Cola Death Squads
University of Oregon
6:00 Pacific 123
Saturday October,18 @ 6:00
For more info, contact Sean @ 346-4073 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Juan Carlos Galvis, a Colombian Trade Union organizer will be speaking at the University of Oregon on Saturday October, 18 on behalf of Coca-Cola employees who have been repeatedly terrorized by death squads hired by the multinational beverage corporation in an attempt to suppress union activity at Colombian bottling plants.
Background information from laborrights.org:
Coca-Cola and Anti-Union Death Squads in Colombia
Violations of human rights are rampant in Colombia due to lawless activities of both the right wing paramilitaries and leftist guerillas. The paramilitaries in Colombia are particularly well known for murdering, abducting and torturing trade union leaders. Specifically, much of the violence against trade unionists in Colombia is directed at leaders of unions at multinational firms, including the Coca-Cola company. One union representing workers at Coca-Cola, Sinaltrainal, has sustained heavy losses of leaders and members who were employed by the company.
Having no other options and facing ongoing violence, Sinaltrainal requested ILRF and the United Steelworkers Union to file an ATCA case against Coca-Cola and its Colombian bottlers. The case was filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, No. 01-03208-CIV, on July 21, 2001. Plaintiffs are Sinaltrainal, and five individuals who have been murdered, tortured, and/or unlawfully detained. They are seeking to hold Coca-Cola, and two of its Colombian bottlers liable for using paramilitaries to engage in anti-union violence. This case also presents the issue of corporate liability for acts of subsidiaries or agents. Coca-Cola's defense is not that the murder and terrorism of trade unionists did not occur; rather, Coca Cola argues that it cannot be held liable in a US federal court for occurrences in Colombia. Coca-Cola also argues that it does not "own", and therefore does not control, the bottling plants in Colombia. This case seeks to develop a standard under which a multinational company cannot have the best of both worlds by profiting from human rights violations but limiting liability to a local entity that is a mere facilitator for the parent company's operations. The defendants' motion to dismiss is pending, and a decision is expected in early 2002.