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CUNY to Dump Coca-Cola

Street Hype | July 19, 2013 | Download Article | Issue

"The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke is reporting that the City University of New York (CUNY) will be completely Coca-Cola-free by August 14, 2013. According to the director of Corporate Campaign, Inc./Campaign to Stop KillerCoke, Ray Rogers this is a major blow to Coca-Cola and a huge victory for the campaign to ‘Stop Killer Coke’ and its supporters…

"On February 28, 2013, the Corporate Campaign delivered letters to Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and 17 members of the Board of Trustees. In addition, we met with leaders of theUniversity Student Senate.

"On May 20, 2013, seventeen thousand emails were sent out to CUNY faculty, staff and administrators and union leadership and staff. ‘The support for our position was very strong among students, faculty, staff and the union,’ [Ray] Rogers notes."


Pepsi Wins Battle in Cola Wars: $21 Million CUNY Deal

By PATRICK McGEEHA | The New York Times | August 13, 2013
Read Article

"The City University of New York, no stranger to campus skirmishes, has now taken a stance in the cola wars: ‘no Coke, Pepsi.’

"Amid a campaign to persuade university administrators to ban Coca-Cola products, CUNY has given Coke’s main rival, Pepsi-Cola, the exclusive right to distribute nonalcoholic beverages on all 24 of its campuses…

"In 2005, New York University banned Coke products from its campus for four years after students protested because of reports of the company’s complicity in the murder of union leaders in Colombia.

"Citing that episode and complaints of discrimination by people who worked for the company in New York City, an anti-Coke campaign based in Brooklyn, the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, pressed CUNY officials to take similar action…

"In May, the student senate at Brooklyn College passed a resolution to ban Coke there, said David J. Rosenberg, the president of the student government on that campus.

" ‘The real drive behind that resolution was that we don’t do business with corporations that have issues with human rights and workers’ rights,’ Mr. Rosenberg said…

"Mr. [Ray] Rogers said losing out at CUNY would be a blow to Coke because the university was one of the biggest in the country. CUNY has about 270,000 students seeking degrees on campuses of varying sizes, including Hunter College, City College of New York and the College of Staten Island. It has about an equal number of students in continuing education and adult courses, and about 40,000 faculty and staff members — a total audience of more than half a million people…

"Coca-Cola did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday…"


CUNY: Help Stop Racial Discrimination at Coca-Cola

Say ‘No’ to Exclusive Pouring Rights at CUNY

The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 24 institutions with more than 540,000 students including 11 senior colleges and seven community colleges.

Its student population is diverse with the Black, White and Latino undergraduate populations each comprising more than a quarter of the student body, and Asian undergraduates make up more than 15 percent.

Coca-Cola, which has a long history of racial discrimination and human rights abuses, has no place on any college campus, especially CUNY.


The following letter was sent to about 17,000 CUNY faculty and staff. We received many good responses:

May 20, 2013

Coca-Cola has positioned itself to secure an exclusive Pouring Rights Contract for CUNY. An article about this appeared in the October 2012 issue of the Clarion.

If Coca-Cola succeeds, this would tarnish the university’s reputation and call into question the administration’s integrity.

Allowing Coca-Cola to brand CUNY would also be a huge slap in the face of Black and Latino students, who make up more than 50 percent of CUNY’s student population, as well as faculty and staff. Current lawsuits describe local Coca-Cola plants as "cesspools of racial discrimination" for Black and Latino workers. In fact, CUNY College of Technology graduate, Yvette Butler, is one of the many victims.

And recent documentary films, books, lawsuits and first-person accounts document Coke’s complicity in horrific human rights abuses against union leaders and their families in Colombia and Guatemala and communities of people in India and Mexico, who have little water for drinking, irrigation and sanitation because of Coke’s over-utilization and pollution of scarce water resources.

Because of these issues, "…the PSC and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, voted not to sell or serve Coke products at their offices, conventions and other events," noted the Clarion.

Coca-Cola is one of the most irresponsible corporations in the world and even its $3.3 billion a year in advertising can’t mask that ugly reality. We have stated our case through communications to CUNY trustees and the chancellor and now we are asking the faculty and staff to take a stand against this rogue company where unbridled greed dictates its destructive policies and practices.

It appears that top administrators are not taking our concerns seriously. Please read our response to a letter we received from Sharon Russell, Associate Controller for Procurement in CUNY’s Office of Budget and Finance.

We hope for the sake of the university that each of you demand accountability and that the administration strictly adheres to its own set of regulations. If they do, you won’t have hundreds or thousands of bright red Coke machines, ads and displays promoting this company and fouling your campus!

Please contact Sharon Russell at Sharon.Russell@mail.cuny.edu and/or call her at (212) 397-5655. Feel free to contact us with any comments or suggestions.

Peace & Justice,

Ray Rogers
Director
Corporate Campaign, Inc
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
(718) 852-2808

Lew Friedman
Editor, Stop Killer Coke Newsletter
Retired NYC School Teacher, IS 318K/MS 51K
Former Member of UFT Executive Board
Queens College (CUNY) Graduate (BA ’65)
Campaign to Stop Coke Discrimination

Ian Hoffmann
CUNY Watchdog
John Jay College (CUNY) Graduate (AS ’06, BA ’09)
CUNYwatchdog@gmail.com


We received this letter from CUNY’s Sharon Russell, Associate Controller for Procurement, Office of Budget and Finance, in response to the letters below that we sent to Chancellor Goldstein and each member of CUNY’s board of trustees. Based on Ms. Russell’s response, Coca-Cola should be ineligible to secure an exclusive pouring rights contract for CUNY, unless the CUNY administration violates its own rules and regulations as stipulated in this paragraph:

Download the entire letter from Ms. Russell here

"…All proposers are required to demonstrate compliance with the minimum qualifications set forth in the RFP, which include the enforcement of fair labor practices in the United States and abroad with respect to its employees and those of its bottlers, distributors and other contractors…As a publicly funded University, CUNY complies with all applicable procurement regulations…"

The following is Corporate Campaign/Campaign to Stop Killer Coke’s letter in response to Ms. Russell’s letter above, challenging CUNY not to violate its own rules and regulations and to do a real investigation of Coca-Cola, its bottlers, distributors and other contractors’ record on labor and human rights abuses:

Download the entire letter to Ms. Russell here

"Who is in charge of investigating whether The Coca-Cola Company meets the standards of complying with "fair labor practices in the United States and abroad with respect to its employees and those of its bottlers, distributors and other contractors"?
What methodology is being used in the investigation?

"Our letter clearly laid out a series of very grave charges, which are well-documented in films, books, reports, lawsuits, first-person accounts and on websites such as KillerCoke.org, www.StopCokeDiscrimination.org and www.IndiaResource.org, clearly indicating that The Coca-Cola Company and many of its bottlers, are involved in egregious labor and human rights abuses worldwide, including right here in New York City. These charges are not new; this company has an ugly past and present.

"When can my office expect a meeting with whomever is in charge of investigating whether The Coca-Cola Company, its bottlers, distributors and other contractors are complying with fair labor practices since we are well-recognized for our knowledge and involvement relating to Coca-Cola and these issues?"


Download Letter to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, Feb. 28, 2013

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein
The City University of New York (CUNY)

"It has come to our attention that The Coca-Cola Company is seeking a CUNY-wide exclusive beverage contract. Given Coca-Cola’s horrendous history and current record of racial discrimination, human rights abuses and environmental degradation, we hope you will deny Coca-Cola any such opportunity on CUNY campuses.

"Right here in the New York City-Metro area, The Coca-Cola Company is currently embroiled in racial discrimination cases at two local bottling plants, where workers, dubbed The Coke 16, have suffered from biased work assignments, unfair discipline and retaliation and a caustic work environment. Coca-Cola’s criminal rap sheet is long and I would urge you to visit wwwStopCokeDiscrimination.org for detailed information about Coca-Cola’s record of racial discrimination and the conditions under which minority Coke workers must work.

"Those of us who signed this letter have been terminated by The Coca-Cola Company for standing up to the constant abuse that we and other black and Latino workers endured for too long. We are attaching a leaflet, side 1 entitled: ‘Coca-Cola’s Work Places Called "Cesspools of Racial Discrimination" ‘ and side 2 entitled: ‘Coca-Cola Victims Tell Their Stories & Fight Back.’ This flyer highlights the harmful impact that racial discrimination has had on us and our families…

"We hope you, the chancellor of CUNY, will ‘take a leadership role in the immediate community and across the nation,’ as the Mission Statement of The City College of New York states, and block any attempt by Coca-Cola to gain a beverage contract with CUNY.

"Your leadership on this will inspire the 540,000 students attending CUNY schools and send a strong message about the values of the CUNY community, standing for human rights and dignity."


Download Letter to CUNY’s Board of Trustees, Feb. 28, 2013

This letter was sent to the following 17 members of the Board of Trustees:

Benno Schmidt, Chairman
CUNY Board of Trustees

  • Benno Schmidt, Chair
  • Philip Alfonso Berry
  • Valerie Lancaster Beal
  • Wellington Z. Chen
  • Rita Dimartino
  • Freida D. Foster
  • Judah Gribetz
  • Kafui Kouakou, Chairperson, University Student Senate
  • Joseph J. Lhota
  • Terrence F. Martell
  • Hugo M. Morales
  • Brian D. Obergfell
  • Peter S. Pantaleo
  • Kathleen M. Pesile
  • Carol A. Robles-Roman
  • Charles A. Shorter
  • Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld

Link to Trustees Biographies: http://www.cuny.edu/about/trustees/board.html

"We are writing you with regard to a very serious issue that CUNY will be dealing with this year…

"Coca-Cola’s criminal rap sheet is long and I would urge you to visit for detailed information about Coca-Cola’s record of racial discrimination and the conditions under which minority Coke workers must labor at these and other local Coca-Cola facilities…

"We hope you, the CUNY Board of Trustees, will ‘take a leadership role in the immediate community and across the nation,’ as the Mission Statement of The City College of New York states, and block any attempt by Coca-Cola to gain a beverage contract with CUNY."


Download the ‘Cesspool of Discrimination’ Flyer

CUNY Beverage Deal: Activists Insist that ‘Coke Is Not It.’

Clarion, by Sarah Jaffe
Read Article

"Last June 2012, the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to offer the exclusive right to sell soft drinks, bottled water and other beverages ‘to a single manufacturer for the University as a whole’…

"Companies expected to submit proposals include Coca-Cola, a student with knowledge of the process told Clarion. Though the trustees’ resolution stipulates that the chosen company should be a ‘responsive and responsible offeror,’ Coca-Cola has faced widespread criticism for its labor rights record, particularly at its bottling plants in Colombia.

" ‘All respondents to the request for proposals must enforce fair labor practices in the United States and abroad with respect to its employees and those of its bottlers, distributors and other contractors,’ CUNY spokesperson Rita Rodin told Clarion. ‘The proposals must include evidence of these practices.’ If so, labor advocates say, any proposal from Coca-Cola should be rejected…

"…the PSC and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, voted not to sell or serve Coke products at their offices, conventions and other events…’

" ‘It’s imperative for public institutions to use their purchasing power wisely,’ [Alex] van Schaick told Clarion. ‘The University should not be supporting companies or entertaining bids from companies that have active campaigns against them,’ for violations of labor rights."