Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Protest Against Coca-Cola in Niles, Il.

On March 22, 2004, I led a delegation of labor activists to the Coca-Cola Corporate headquarters in Niles, Il. We were upset over Coca-Cola's treatment of their employees in Colombia, and how Coca-Cola was attempting to break up to food and beverage workers union SINALTRAINAL. We organized this delegation in solidarity with a hunger strike that members of SINALTRAINAL were conducting in Colombia. A few days later chapters of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) did similar actions at Coca-Cola plants and offices across the country.

I was working with my friend Dan L. Borris and United Students Against Sweatshops to make this happen. We sent out press releases, and a photographer from Getty's and one from the Chicago Tribune covered the event. About a dozen of us gathered outside the office building, including Luis Adolfo, a Colombian refugee who fled because of the violence against his union; Phil Gerboc, a Franciscan Brother; and James Thindwa of Chicago Jobs With Justice. We briefly rallied outside before we walked into the office, carrying signs, and spoke with a Coca-Cola VP. I was told that USAS staffers in New York City saw one of the Getty photos in Newsday.

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