Monday, August 21, 2006

First Day of School Action!: Call Office of the Chancellor

On Wednesday [August 23, 2006], please call the office of Chancellor Richard Herman (217-333-6290) to express your concerns about the current exclusive contracts between University of Illinois and Coca-Cola. Most likely, you will be asked to leave a message. The following short-text might help:

•Introduce yourself as student/staff/faculty/community member.
•" I am calling to express my concerns over university's exclusive beverage contracts with Coca-Cola. Coke is responsible for a number of human rights and labor violations, and environmental degradation. University of Illinois should NOT do business with a corporation that puts profits over human rights. Please DO NOT renew the contract with Coca-Cola"

Please email us at[] after you make a call.

Thank you for your support!

Talking Points

1.Why do we want Coke off campus?

Murders and Human Rights Abuses in Colombia: Since 1989, 8 union leaders from Coca-Cola bottling plants have been murdered by paramilitary forces in association with Coke plant managers. Dozens of other workers have been intimidated, kidnapped or tortured. There is clear evidence that managers of several plants have ordered assaults to occur and made regular payments to leaders of the paramilitary groups. Union-busting has greatly benefited Coke and increased their profits. A court case filed in 2001 in Miami against Coca-Cola regarding these issues remains unsettled while investigations by Hiram Monserrate (2004) and Lesley Gil (2004) prove allegations are legitimate.

•Environmental Devastation in India: A pattern of abuse has emerged for Coca-Cola's bottling operations in India. Coca-Cola is guilty of:
1.Polluting ground water and soil around its bottling facilities
2.Distributing its toxic waste as "fertilizer" to farmers. The waste contains dangerous concentrations of cadmium and lead.
3.Selling drinks with high levels of pesticides —sometimes 30 times higher than EU standards.
4. Extracting millions of litres of ground water and causing severe water shortages in various parts of India
In a recent independent investigation the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) found dangerous levels of pesticide in all brands of Coke manufactured in India.

•Union Busting and Beatings in Turkey and Indonesia: Upon attempting to unionize, the workers in Coca-Cola bottling plants in Indonesia and Turkey were fired en masse

2. The contract is up for renewal in 2007, what is the purpose of calling this early?

It is never too soon to decide NOT to renew the contract. The University should make the decision of non-renewal of contract with Coca-Cola as soon as possible and explore other options of beverage contracts.

3. Isn't this a matter of courts/independent investigation?

The recent investigation conducted by Center for Science and Environment (CSE) is independent and on the grounds of their report, the Government of India is considering total ban on Coca-Cola altogether. Seven states in India have already banned Coke. Several campuses in the United States have decided not to do business with Coca-Cola because of the company’s egregious records.

In the past, universities have never waited for a court decision to express their concern about the practices of their business partners or licensees. University codes of conduct grant them the authority to evaluate their licensees' compliance.