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COLOMBIA: Coca-Cola sues workers' union
The Panamco Colombia (Coca-Cola's Colombian branch) has filed charges of slander in the Southern Federal District Court of Florida against the leadership of the National Union of the Food Industry Workers (Sinaltrainal) of slander. Sinaltrainal represents workers in the Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia who recently launched an international campaign against the violent attacks committed against them.
The "Unthinkable! Undrinkable!" campaign was announced July 22 at press media conferences and other actions in the United States, Europe and Colombia. In Australia, the "Stop Killer Coke" campaign has supported Sinaltrainal's campaign.
According to the union, at least nine unionists who work for Coca-Cola in Colombia have been killed, two have been exiled, 48 forced to move, 67 have received death threats and 15 workers have been jailed on false accusations.
In July 2001, Sinaltrainal filed a suit for human rights abuses against Coca-Cola in the Miami Federal Court, under the US Alien Tort Claims Act. The union charged that workers had been attacked by paramilitaries on behalf of the company. Last March, the court ruled that the case could proceed.
Panamco Colombia's suit is in retaliation to this case and the success of the worldwide campaign against Coca-Cola's terrorism. Sinaltrainal has requested letters of protest be sent to Colombian and Coca-Cola officials. Their names, titles and email addresses are available at <http://www.sinaltrainal.org>.
From Green Left Weekly, September 10, 2003.
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