ROGUES GALLERY REVEALED
*improvements after corporate campaign
The Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE) has revealed it ROGUES GALLERY, corporations that have a proven track record of being BAD for Labor and BAD for the environment. Recently a press conference took place outside of Coca Cola corporate offices in Oakland, California. Why Coke? This pop company, a global mega-corporation, has earned the designation "Rogue Corporation" and is highlighted in the ROGUES GALLERY.
Independent Media Center reporters were present and documented the press conference in S.F.. Thank you Indymedia! Their report can be found as a newswire post on the San Francisco Bay Area IMC. Take a look, it includes several great photos.
Alliance For Sustainable Jobs & Environment Releases "Rogues Gallery"
The entire ROGUES GALLERY - in PDF format - is here: http://www.asje.org/colorgallery.pdf
To learn more contact: Karen Pickett, ASJE, (925) 376-7329
Now take a look at the profile of just one corporation from the Rogues Gallery: COCA COLA
Background on the Coca Cola - Cutrale Connection:
In December, 1962, a frost hit Florida killing millions of the state's orange trees. Coca Cola/
Minute Maid looked to Brazil for solutions where the growing season is longer and more stable. Coke helped launch a business for Jose Cutrale, Jr., a then struggling orange wholesaler in Brazil. This business would become the world's largest juice company and concentrate provider for Coca Cola/Minute Maid.
Coca-Cola is bad for labor
Since Coca Cola outsourced its Minute Maid and Hi-C juice production in Auburndale, Florida to Cutrale Citrus Juices USA, a subsidiary of Brazil-based Sucocitrico Cutrale Ltd in 1996, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the plant for 15 violations including 13 determined to be serious. There have been many serious accidents including an electrical accident which killed a worker, explosions, two major chemical leaks, worker hospitalizations and complaints of air pollution.i Reports from workers that rats, pigeon feathers and droppings and roaches were prevalent throughout the plant, reached a point in January, 2000 that workers initiated their own quality control reporting system and ultimately went on strike to protest unsafe conditions. According to Ken Wood, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Local 79, which represents workers at the Auburndale plant, a 30-year employee at the plant was fired after reporting a rat sighting to an USDA inspector.ii
After ignoring workers' warnings and failing a Florida Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection, Coca Cola was forced to recall Hi-C products produced at their Auburndale plant in February 2000.iii
Labor abuse in Colombia:
The lives of trade unionists in Colombia, South America are being threatened because of their organizing efforts. Colombia suffers from the worst anti-union violence of any country in the world.iv Since 1991, 1,875 trade unionists have been assassinatedv - mostly by death squads aligned with the official military forces - and many others have been threatened, intimidated, imprisoned and tortured. To address this grave situation, USWA joined with the International Labor Rights Fund in July 2001 in a lawsuit against Coca-Cola to force it to stop the violence which is being perpetrated against employees at Coca-Cola bottlers in Colombia. A coalition of several of the U.S.'s largest unions working with Sinaltrainal, a major Colombian union, recently launched a boycott,vi accusing Coca-Cola of using Colombia's right- wing paramilitary group - the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization - to intimidate and assassinate union members in Colombia. The unions, which include the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and AFSCME announced the boycott at a recent news conference.vii
Coca-Cola is bad for the environment
Cutrale's overall environmental record in Florida includes ammonia leaks, illegal nitrate spray, and potential responsibility for a toxic algae in Lake Griffin called cylindrospermopsin. A lake once flush with bass now often has dead alligators on its shores.viii
In 1995, 2,000 pounds of ammonia were released to the general public due to an electrical mishap. In 1998, 645 pounds of ammonia were released causing the plant and the surrounding public to be evacuated and in 1999, 3,250 pounds of ammonia were released from the bulk blend tank system after an explosion, sending six workers to the hospital and shutting down the plant.ix The following day, 5,790 pounds of ammonia were released over a period of 8 hours when pressurized liquid ammonia entered an abandoned pipe, breaking the pipe.
In 2001, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Orlando threatened to pull Cutrale's operating permit unless it reduces nitrate levels (twice the state standard) from the wastewater,x which is sprayed across a 170-acre field. Local residents have complained about the danger of nitrate seepage into groundwater and nearby Lake Griffin.xi
Cylindrospermopsis, a life-threatening blue-green algae, is prevalent in Lake Griffin and has spread through lakes, rivers and reservoirs statewide. The toxin from the alga, called cylindrospermopsin, has shown up in some municipal drinking water systems.xii
A December, 1999 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report cited 30 violations including filth on food containers, flaky paint on ceilings over tanks, and mold on ceilings and walls.xiv These specific and numerous problems are all the more significant because of Coca-Cola's position as one of the most prominent brands in the world. The seriousness of these violations is compounded by of Coca-Cola's effort to hide them behind the facade of a foreign registered company.
In India, Coca-Cola has drained water supplies that people depend on for drinking water â€" frequently polluting much of what is left. Coca-Cola subsidiaries Hindustan Coca-Cola and Bharat Coca-Cola have drawn grassroots protest in locations including Plachimada, Kerala;xv Kudus, a village in Thane district; and Mehdiganj, where protesters were beaten by hired thugs. Kudus villagers are now forced to walk long distances in search of drinking water, since local water has dried up as a result of Coca-Cola's operations. Their rapacious treatment of communities in India was wellknown enough to have drawn a pre-emptive protest against a proposed plant in Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, by more than 7,000 people, mostly women.xvi
Coca-Cola is neither a newcomer nor a small player in the sale of products essentially produced by contracted labor (who are not permanent employees and thus do not receive benefits). The company has 56,000 employees, of which 9,800 are employed in the United States. Yet its market value is $122.6 billion.xvii Contrast that to GM which employs 350,000 workers, but has a market value of only $30.8 billion.xviii In fact, only nine 5 companies are more valuable than Coca Cola. Much of the disparity is due to the fact that while General Motors employees are (at least in part) responsible for producing the cars bearing the GM brand,
Coca-Cola has relatively little to do with the Coke consumers drink. This is left to bottlers and other contractors who must pay a sizeable percentage of the revenue to Coca-Cola. Many of Coca Cola's employees are marketing experts, carefully grooming the image of the company in a market where the actual product is easily replaced by other carbonated caramel sugar waters. Hence, the Coca-Cola model is a manager's holy grail, where it employs few workers, and makes little, except for profit.
Coca-Cola is a publicly held corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia.
For More Information: www.cokespotlight.org
The Company's Website: www2.coca-cola.com
Other Coca Cola Links
Here are various other internet links where you can find more info:
Coca Cola protest of 3/22/04 as reported on Chicago Indymedia: http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/38376/index.php
Killer Coke Campaign:
United Students Against Sweatshops:
Dollars and Sense, the magazine:
Workers World reports on Coca Cola workers hunger strike:
Labournet UK on Coca Cola workers hunger strike:
Columbia Action Network, Boycott Killer Coke:
address: 203 E. 4th Avenue, Rm 207, Olympia, Washington 98501
add a comment on this article