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On the Docket – Worker’s Economic and Social Rights that Require OWS Attention

On the Docket — Worker’s Economic and Social Rights that Require OWS Attention
By Jerry Ashton | 15 Minutes of Fact | MAY 16, 2012

Sandra Walker

Podcast: Listen to MP3 is a series of interviews with people either directly involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement or people and causes which reflect the basic principles espoused by OWS – fairness and justice being at the top of that list.

Today’s guest will serve as an example of information that never reaches the media…or at least reported on poorly, if at all, and these are complaints by workers on workplace issues such as racial discrimination, safety, or unhealthy work environments.

Sandra Walker is a 46-year-old African-American single mom, homeowner and currently an employee of Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR), a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, and has been with CCR for over 13 years.

For the last 11 of these years, she has been subjected to racial discrimination and targeted by management for speaking out about injustices against other minority co-workers and her. In Sandra’s case, she cited as cause of discrimination, "race and retaliation."

Sandra Walker was one of 16 workers at two separate Coca-Cola plants who filed a lawsuit in January, 2012. The New York Daily News dubbed them the "Coca-Cola 16" for this effort. (Sandra had previously filed an EEOC complaint on 11/23/11 against America’s Iconic company).

The New York Daily News reported that "When she was hired as a merchandiser at the Maspeth plant, she felt like she ‘had hit Lotto’ because Coca-Cola was such a prestigious company.

Why she no longer feels that way are due to unpleasant experiences in which she was called names like "Nappy Head’ and ‘Aunt JaMamma;" one white worker showed up on the job wearing a Confederate flag on his head.

How could this not have been considered inflammatory and racial? And, what is it about the "internal" makeup of Coca-Cola that allows for this to happen while at the same time endless, cheery ads about their product roll across our TV screens?

This is not the first time or place that Coca-Cola has received negative press. On the website www.KillerCoke.org, the leadoff story is on allegedly murdered Union Leaders in Colombia and Guatemala, and cites abuses by Coca Cola in India, El Salvador, Turkey, Mexico and China and contains a trove of articles and reports that are unsavory at best and shocking at worst.

Is Sandra’s case unique? Isolated? Worth the attention of Occupiers? Listen, and you tell me.

More details on this story can be learned by writing info@killercoke.org or me here on WGRNradio.com at writtenoffusa@gmail.com, or calling 718-852-2808.