AFT Resolution

STOP COCA-COLA's ABUSE OF CHILDREN AND VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

WHEREAS, many labor organizations, including the New York State United Teachers, have agreed not to serve or sell Coca-Cola products because of Coca-Cola's complicity in violence against its workers, especially in Latin America; and

WHEREAS, Coca-Cola circumvents its own code of conduct by hiring workers through subcontracting rather than hiring permanent employees;[1] and

WHEREAS, between 1990 and 2012, nine union leaders of the National Union of Food Industry Workers (SINALTRAINAL), the union representing Coca-Cola bottling plant workers in Colombia, and their family members have been murdered; and

WHEREAS, SINALTRAINAL President Javier Correa, and Vice President Juan Carlos Galvis, have escaped assassination attempts, and they, along with local SINALTRAINAL President William Mendoza, continue to face constant death threats;[2] and

WHEREAS, despite El Salvador's minimum working age of 18 for dangerous occupations, children as young as 8 in El Salvador wield machetes to harvest sugar cane for Coca-Cola's sugar processor;[3] and

WHEREAS, three general secretaries of the union representing Coca-Cola workers in Guatemala City and five workers were killed, and four more workers were kidnapped;[4] and

WHEREAS, Guatemalan trade unionist José Armando Palacios survived an assassination attempt and has been granted asylum in the United States after Mr. Palacios' counsel presented, at the negotiation process for his asylum, a letter from Coca-Cola acknowledging that if he were to return to Guatemala the safety of Mr. Palacios and his family would be threatened;[5] and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers cites, "AFT has a proud history of involvement in the worldwide trade union movement ... [and] has lent support and solidarity to unions all over the globe, from those fighting apartheid in South Africa to those struggling against Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile, to those emerging from the ruins of the former Soviet Union":

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers refrain from serving or selling Coca-Cola products at its offices and to the extent possible, at any venue for its events, meetings, conferences and conventions; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT recommend to all its affiliates that they not serve or sell Coca-Cola products at their offices and to the extent possible, at venues for their events; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT share this information with affiliates and encourage them to participate in campaigns to remove Coca-Cola products from their schools, colleges, hospitals and other places in which they work; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on Coca-Cola to cease circumventing its own code of conduct by hiring workers through subcontracting rather than hiring permanent employees; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT communicate this resolution to Coca-Cola.



[1] Thomas, M. (2009). Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola. New York, NY: Nation Books.

[2] Blanding, M. (2011). The Coke Machine: The Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

[4] Gatehouse, M. and Reyes, A. (1987). Soft Drink, Hard Labour: Guatemalan Workers Take on Coca-Cola. London, UK: Latin America Bureau.

 

(2014)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.