Have a Coke and a Smile

Thanks to this press release from Corporate Campaign, Inc. and the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, I learned that the American Federation of Teachers banned all Coca-Cola products from its facilities and events because of Coke’s “dismal human rights record and long-standing allegations of violence against union leaders in Colombia and Guatemala.”

“AFT’s actions to hold The Coca-Cola Company accountable for what we see as its reprehensible practices worldwide, can only have a positive impact on society and the daily lives of countless endangered children and workers, who are now trapped in poverty and despair,” said Ray Rogers, director of the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke. “I hope and expect that the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) will take similar action to protect the well-being of children and advance human rights everywhere.”

The AFT resolution also encourages union affiliates “to participate in campaigns to remove Coca-Cola products from their schools, colleges, hospitals and other places in which they work.”

Fair enough. I’m sure AFT simply switched to Pepsi products. But wait.

What about Pepsi’s anti-union actions in India? What about the list of abuses on the “Pepsi Smash” Facebook page? And then there are the land grabs for sugar by both Coke and Pepsi.

Drat! I guess that leaves the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. But Coke distributes Dr Pepper products in parts of the world, the company was once cited for 12 violations of the Clean Water Act, has a poor record on post-consumer packaging, had a low score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, and has had its own battles with labor unions.

What’s a socially conscious union to do? I guess AFT will have to stick to tap water… as long as there is no fracking nearby.