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Coca-Cola Accused of Aiding in Intimidation and Murder of Workers in Columbia

July 30, 2001

Coca-Cola utilizes the advertising slogan "Life Tastes Good."  That's apparently not the case for workers -- and especially union leaders -- at Coke bottlers in Columbia.

The United Steelworkers union and the International Labor Rights Fund have filed suit against Coca-Cola alleging that the company and some of its bottlers utilize right-wing paramilitary groups to intimidate and assassinate labor organizers. [story from The New York Times]

Coca-Cola of course denies the charges.  While I have no first-hand knowledge that the charges are true, it is undisputed that scores of union leaders in Columbia have been killed this year.  And the number of union workers at Coca-Cola plants in Columbia has dropped from 1,300 to 450 in the last seven years.

U.S. companies have a long history in Central America of utilizing illegal and often violent means to stifle unions and keep wages low.  These allegations would certainly fit that pattern.

The excuse used before was that the efforts were really aimed at fighting Communism.  However ludicrous that claim used to be, it can't be used now at all, given the demise of the Soviet Union.

So again, as before, the real cause is pure greed -- the desire to squeeze every drop of profit out of these impoverished workers.

Have companies like Coca-Cola no shame?

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

More about U.S. in Columbia

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