Friday, August 25, 2006

Class of 2007's Officers (continued)

Due to my recent trip back to Poland, the introductions were slightly delayed. However, we are now ready to introduce the remaining members.

"My name is Andrew Paleczny. I am a senior at Loyola Academy involved with junior achievement and a member of the conservative forum. Although my political views may differ from some involved in the cause, I feel that there is a violation of human rights in Columbia and it is my duty along with both of my partners to inform people of the injustices. I heard of the campaign while attending the school presentations on April 12th. I am looking forward to working with the Killer Cola campaign at Loyola."

Our third and final officer will be introducing himself soon.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Class of 2007's Officers

After almost two months, the Killer Cola selection process is now complete. We would like to congratulate all of our fifteen finalists (out of an original pool of over one hundred), but sadly only a select few could be chosen. For the next couple of days, the officers for the 2006-2007 school year will be introducing themselves. First in line, we have Nikoletta Lelis:

"Hello everyone. My name is Nikoletta Lelis. I am currently a senior at Loyola, and I attended St. Philip the Apostle in Northfield for elementary school. I first heard about the Killer Cola campaign while attending a Dumbach Scholar presentation last spring in the theater. I was shocked to learn of the human rights violations, and I decided to get involved. That's why I'm here now. Until next time...."

More officers will be introducing themselves soon.

- Dan Wozniczka

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Far From Over

This summer, Loyola Academy held its selection process in order to appoint students of the class of 2007 to leadership/management roles within the Killer Cola campaign. Until recently, the proceedings of the selection process had been kept strictly confidential (thus the lack of posts on the website in the past few weeks), but after weeks of nominations, interviews, and eliminations, the selection process is nearing an end. The names of the chosen students will be announced later this week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Don't Give Up!

Here is an update on the Killer Coke Campaign. Two American labor unions have brought a new lawsuit against Coca-Cola. Here is information on the lawsuit from Killer Coke and the plaintiffs:

Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Alert

Below is a press advisory and a link to a copy of the lawsuit filed on June 2, 2006 against The Coca-Cola Co. and its largest bottler in Colombia, Coca-Cola FEMSA, by the International Labor Rights Fund and the United Steelworkers union. We are sending this lawsuit to Campaign supporters worldwide for your information. We hope that you will find the information useful to inform others that human rights abuses against Colombian workers and leaders by Coke continue to this day.
ILRF & USW Bring New Complaint Against Coca-Cola,
Alleging Complicity with The Colombian DAS
and AUC Paramilitaries In Killing of Labor Leader

June 5, 2006

Terry Collingsworth (202) 347-4100, Ext. 104;
Daniel Kovalik (412) 562-2518

On Friday, June 2, 2006, the ILRF and USW filed a new Alien Tort Claims Act case against the Coca-Cola Company and its Latin American Bottler, Coca-Cola FEMSA. This new Complaint charges that managers at the Coke bottling plant in Barranquilla, Colombia conspired with both the Colombian Administrative Department of Security (“DAS”) and the AUC paramilitaries to intimidate, threaten and ultimately kill SINALTRAINAL trade union leader Adolfo de Jesus Munera on August 31, 2002. The Complaint further alleges that, despite a number of warnings to Coca-Cola management in Atlanta that the management at the Barranquilla bottler has continued to meet with and provide plant access to paramilitaries, the paramilitary infiltration of this bottling plant continues unabated to this day. Meanwhile, these same paramilitaries have continued to threaten SINALTRAINAL members and leaders with death and even kidnapped the child of one SINALTRAINAL leader to pressure him into refraining from his union activities.

These allegations come at a time when the DAS in Colombia has come under fire for collaborating with paramilitary forces. In particular, credible allegations have surfaced in recent weeks that the DAS, which has responsibility to protect trade unionists under threat has actually been creating and maintaining hit lists of trade union leaders and providing these lists to the paramilitaries to act upon. These allegations also come at a time when the Coca-Cola Company has been kicked off of numerous campuses throughout the U.S. over allegations that it has failed to adequately address such labor and human rights abuses in Colombia.

According to ILRF Executive Director Terry Collingsworth, “This new Complaint underscores the need for The Coca-Cola Company to spend more of its effort and resources in protecting the lives and well-being of its workers in Colombia in lieu of focusing on its public relations campaign to deflect the allegations of abuse being leveled against it.” There is no question, however, that it is the Coca-Cola Company that is the proper defendant in this case because it has complete control of its empire and Coca-Cola managers have been traversing the United States claiming that the Coca-Cola Compnay is taking all possible steps to address human rights violations in its bottling plants in Colombia. USW Associate General Counsel Daniel Kovalik states that “The continued assassination of trade unionists in Colombia with the complicity of the Colombian DAS and military, as well as corporate interests, calls into grave question the propriety of the U.S.’s continued commitment to aid for the Colombian military forces.”

"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours."
-Cesar Chavez

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Action Update and More News Out of Colombia

As Dan mentioned in his post about our most recent meeting with the Loyola administration, there was a mutual consensus that in order to ask students to boycott Coca-Cola they had to have the opportunity to purchase another brand of drink at the counter to go with their meals. Yesterday was my last day at Loyola, but I'm happy to say that it was the first time I was ever able to purchase a soft drink not made by Coca-Cola over the counter. With the new pricing system, you can buy a non-Coke soft drink (Pepsi at the time, but because of the lack of a contract in this category, that could change in the future) for pretty much the same price per volume as you would for a Coke. This is a huge breakthrough, because you can now order other types of drinks with your meals. I cannot stress enough the importance of Loyola Academy students boycotting Coca-Cola. Signing the petition was a great first step if you did it, but in order to truly support this cause and human rights in bottling plants around the world, you must refuse to buy the product until the company cleans up the abusive conditions in Colombia. PLEASE ask for non-Coke products (Pepsi, RC, milk, etc. depending on what is there at the time) whenever you buy a meal in the caf. It doesn't take much effort, but it will go a LONG way in helping the campaign.

On a bittersweet note, Dan, Tom, and I are graduating soon. This doesn't mean that the campaign will end. In fact, we are talking to juniors (who will be seniors in about a week) who are interested in working on the campaign next school year. We already have one who, as we are very excited to announce, will be helping to run things next year. I'll let her introduce herself to you on this website when she is ready. If you are a junior and you're interested in helping out next year, it isn't too late to get involved! Contact us and we'll set you up with something!

Finally, to remind you of what is at stake, I would like to post an email update I received from the International Labor Rights Fund. Abuses continue, yet Coca-Cola still refuses to allow an independent human rights investigation into the allegations leveled against the company. Here is part of the email:

On May 15, 2006 at approximately 8:00 A.M., in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, at the headquarters of SINALTRAINAL, Secretary Yovana Rodríguez found an envelope upon entering the building that contained the following threat:


These are the names of the pamphleteers and indoctrinators who are coming and f***ing this city: Euripides Yance, Limberto Carranza, Campo Quintero Jesús Tovar, Eduardo Arévalo, Tomas Ramos, Henry Gordón, Gastón Tesillo, Carlos Hernández.

The time has come to wipe out their tentacles that grow from day to day in the trade unions, universities, and in the organizations that let themselves fall under evil influence.

Hoping that you don’t destroy this or throw it away; give it to another person so that they can discover the truth and transmit this information to your family and friends.”

Afterwards, on May 16, 2006 fellow workers Euripides Yance and Limberto Carranza received telephone calls at their homes threatening them with death.

This is not the first time that these kind of threats have been made against the workers Euripides Yance, Campo Elias Quintero, Limberto Carranza, and the families of SINALTRAINAL leaders and Coca-Cola workers, and they are occurring at times when the union is negotiating a list of demands with this company in the capital city of Bogotá.

MAS (Muerte a Sindicalistas/Death to Trade Unionists) is one of the many paramilitary death squads in Colombia’s armed conflict and is responsible for waves of political killings.

We are calling on the Colombian national government to investigate the facts, find the responsible parties, and guarantee the lives and integrity of SINALTRANAL affiliates and families.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Breakthrough

Today is a day that I will never forget. Earlier today, Joe, Tom and I met with the administrators of Loyola Academy and made our formal proposal. In a meeting that lasted for almost two hours, the future of Coca Cola in Loyola Academy had been decided.

Along with the signed petitions, Joe, Tom and I entered the meeting with a twenty four page formal proposal, which included articles, press releases, summaries of the campaign, lists of active universities, and our suggested resolutions. As we spoke with the administrators, the conversation began to change from us making our case, to discussing how to go about taking the next step in the campaign. As a Jesuit institution founded upon principles of Catholic Social Teaching, everyone in the meeting, administrators and students alike, agreed that Loyola needs to take an active role in the controversy.

The administration has officially decided to open lines of communication with the Coca Cola Corporation and begin negotiations. Depending upon the response of the Coca Cola representatives, the administration has declared that the termination of the contract with Coca Cola is a viable option. Also, after evaluating the sales of Coca Cola in the cafeteria and considering the monopoly which Coca Cola has upon the fountain drinks, the administration has decided that the pricing and menu of the cafeteria shall be changed in order to accommodate students not willing to purchase a Coca Cola product.

Although this may seem like a victory in the campaign, I feel it is important to recognize that there is still much that must be done. The ultimate goal of our campaign had not been to remove Coca Cola from the Academy, but to pressure Coca Cola into allowing an independent investigation. To this day, Coca Cola shows no signs of complying. That being said, today is a day that you can take pride in both your school, and yourselves. We belong to an institution that recognizes its role in fighting injustice, and that has held true to the Jesuit ideals with which it had been founded. Without your support, demonstrated both through petitions and the drop in Coke sales, none of this could have been accomplished. On behalf of Joe, Tom, and thousands of innocent Columbian men, women and children, I thank you for your support. Stay tuned for future updates.

- Daniel Wozniczka
Class of 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rally for Human Rights in Darfur

Another Magis group asked us to post this information. I think that it's a really important issue that has been largely ignored by the U.S. mainstream media.


Make Your Voice Heard

When: Monday, May 1, 2006, 4:30 PM
Where: Federal Plaza, Chicago, IL

Featuring elected officials, religious and other community and human rights leaders.

Over 400,000 people have been killed during the current genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Millions more are at risk. We need to act now to help put an end to the killing.

This rally is being organized by the Chicago Coalition to Save Darfur.