Get Adobe Flash player

Coca-Cola

OFCCP settles discrimination case with 2nd-largest Coca-Cola bottler in the nation

OCCP settles discrimination case with 2nd-largest Coca-Cola bottler in the nation OFCCP News Release | October 7, 2010

US Labor Department settles discrimination case with 2nd-largest Coca-Cola bottler in the nation

Minority applicants to receive back wages, interest and job offers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated has agreed to pay $495,000 in back wages and interest to 95 African-American and Hispanic job seekers who applied in 2002 for sales support positions at the company’s Black Satchel Road distribution facility in Charlotte. The settlement follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

In addition to back pay, the Coca-Cola bottler agreed to make offers of employment to those 95 applicants until at least 23 interested applicants are hired. Those hired will receive retroactive seniority benefits they would have accrued from July 1, 2002, if not for the discriminatory actions of the company.

"The Labor Department is firmly committed to ensuring that those who do business with our government do not discriminate in their employment practices," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "Being a federal contractor is a privilege that comes with an obligation to ensure equal opportunity in employment."

This plant is the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the nation and a major supplier of Coke brand products to military and government installations under a number of federal contracts.

OFCCP’s investigation of the company’s hiring practices found that the Coca-Cola bottler failed to hire qualified minority applicants at a comparable rate to non-minority applicants. OFCCP’s statistical analysis determined that the disparity in hires was too great to occur solely by chance. Additionally, OFCCP found that the bottler’s own records revealed instances in which rejected minority applicants had more experience and education than some non-minority hires.

OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, to the very reasonable standard that they not discriminate in their employment practices based on gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. For more information, visit OFCCP’s website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

Ramon Hernandez and Will Nunez of The Coke 16 on The News Dissector Radio Show with Danny Schechter

Ramon Hernandez and Will Nunez of The Coke 16 on The News Dissector Radio Show with Danny Schechter May 25, 2012

This interview of Ramon Hernandez and Will Nunez of The Coke 16 is with Danny Schechter, The News Dissector. Danny is an Emmy award-winning journalist, television producer, independent filmmaker and veteran radio personality. His latest film is "Plunder: The Crime of Our Time," which is about the "unreported story of the economic crisis, which continues to haunt millions of Americans." For further information on Danny’s illustrious career, go to: http://prn.fm/hosts/political-hosts/danny-schechter

The radio interview was to originally include David Alvarez and Luis Morales, but they were unable to participate because they recently found employment outside of Coca-Cola.

Listen on YouTube

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.

The Coke 16 On Labor Forum with Dianne Mathiowetz WRFG Radio Atlanta, GA

The Coke 16 On Labor Forum with Dianne Mathiowetz WRFG Radio Atlanta, GA May 8, 2012

Interview of two members of The Coke 16, a group of African American and Hispanic workers from Coca Cola, who are involved in a racial discrimination law suit against the giant soft drink bottler.

Listen on YouTube

Ray Rogers challenging Coke CEO Muhtar Kent about racial discrimination

Ray Rogers challenging Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent about racial discrimination at the 2012 Annual Shareholders Meeting held April 25th in Atlanta, GA.

Watch the questioning on YouTube.

Coca-Cola Unit Sued for Alleged Racial Discrimination

Coca-Cola Unit Sued for Alleged Racial Discrimination
The lawsuit charges that the 16 plaintiffs ‘have suffered from the worst of its ills in terms of biased work assignments and allotment of hours, unfair discipline and retaliation, and a caustic work environment.’
By Judy Greenwald | Workforce.com | March 20, 2012



David Alvarez et al. vs. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc., which was filed in New York State Supreme Court in Queens on behalf of 16 current and former black and Hispanic workers, charges that an "endemic culture of racism" runs through the company’s management and supervisors at its New York bottling plans in Elmsford and Maspeth, New York. The suit was filed Jan. 3, but only publicized last week in the New York Daily News.

The lawsuit charges that the 16 plaintiffs "have suffered from the worst of its ills in terms of biased work assignments and allotment of hours, unfair discipline and retaliation, and a caustic work environment."

It says black and Hispanic workers "are typically assigned to the most undesirable and physically dangerous positions, and to tasks that are outside of their job descriptions.

"Meanwhile, the managers contravene the established seniority system by giving better jobs and more overtime hours to workers with less seniority than minority workers.

"As several of the plaintiffs have found, opportunities for advancement and promotion within the company are routinely biased against minority workers. Finally, the truck drivers among the plaintiffs have had their hours unfairly limited and prevented from working overtime, while white drivers do not have to face these problems," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also charged that plaintiffs who have complained have "faced swift retaliation from the white managers."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory, emotional, psychological and punitive damages, lost compensation, front and back pay, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and any other damages permitted by law.

Commenting on the lawsuit, plaintiffs attorney Steve A. Morelli of the Law Office of Steven A. Morelli P.C. in Garden City, New York, said Coca-Cola’s hostile work environment is "clearly something that needs to be addressed."

Coca-Cola issued a statement saying, "Where discrimination is alleged, we conduct a thorough investigation."

It said it appears one of the allegations in the lawsuit refers to an employee who was terminated five years ago, and "other allegations were addressed and resolved even longer ago. Contrary to the allegations in the lawsuit, our investigation has not uncovered a culture of workplace discrimination. In fact, many minority associates have come forward to strongly disavow the allegations of discrimination contained in the lawsuit."

"We have investigated, and will continue to investigate, all allegations of discrimination and harassment brought to our attention. We are confident that this matter will be resolved fairly and justly through the judicial system," Coca-Cola said in the statement.

Judy Greenwald writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

Coca-Cola Plants Are “Cesspool of Racial Discrimination,” According to Lawsuit

Coca-Cola Plants Are “Cesspool of Racial Discrimination,” According to Lawsuit
By Shane Roberts | Frugivore Magazine | March 19, 2012

Stop Coke Discrimination

Whatever happened to having "a Coke and a smile." Well apparently those days are over at a couple of Coca-Cola regional offices in New York. Black and Hispanic employees of the Queens, N.Y. and Elmsford, N.Y. locations have filed suit against the multi-national corporation, citing that their work environments are a "cesspool of racial discrimination."

Complaints of this nature, which was filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, will be hard to prove considering most people racially fatigued in "post-racial" America. No one wants to hear from you complaining blacks and Mexicans (you know every Hispanic is Mexican in "post-racial" America).

Relegating minorities to unfavorable assignments, accusing superiors of unfair disciplinary and retaliatory actions against workers — all of which are more than likely true — sadly, will fall upon the deaf ears of our corporate-biased judicial system, which honors corporate personhood over subjective accounts of worker abuse.

If the Supreme Court threw out a multi-ethnic, multi race class action suit filed on behalf the discriminated female employees of retail giant Wal-Mart, issuing a ruling that basically informed the female plaintiffs they would have to sue the multi-billion dollar corporation individually, where do you honestly see this lawsuit going?

According to statement released by the lawyer for the 16 plaintiffs, Steven Morelli, Coca-Cola claimed the employees were "nuts" and "ingrates." This alleged "ingrate" comment runs in stark contrast to one of the plaintiffs, Sondra Walker, who was quoted as saying the Coco-Cola job was akin to winning the lotto.

But I’m sure not too many minority lotto winners are accustomed to hearing themselves referred to as "Nappy Head" or "Aunt JaMamma," well at least not directly to their face.

"I’ve never been called so many names as I have been at Coca-Cola," Walker told the Daily News.

In a statement, Coca-Cola spokesman Toney Anaya said, "We take this matter seriously and are investigating the allegations." The company, she said, doesn’t tolerate workplace discrimination.

Minority Workers Claim Discrimination in Coca-Cola Lawsuit

Minority Workers Claim Discrimination in Coca-Cola Lawsuit
By NewsOne Staff | Mar 19, 2012 9

Stop Coke Discrimination

A total of sixteen Black and Hispanic employees at the Coca-Cola soft drink company have filed a lawsuit claiming that they have been forced to work under conditions that can be categorized as being "a cesspool of racial discrimination," reports the New York Daily News on Monday.

The Brooklyn Federal Court lawsuit which was filed against two of the company’s five production plants in Maspeth and Elmsford, New York, accuses the popular soft drink manufacturer of maintaining racially discriminatory and hostile environments.

Sondra Walker, a merchandiser at the Maspeth plant, is one the workers claiming that she was ridiculed in a derogatory manner. She told the New York Daily News that she was referred to as "nappy head and Aunt JaMamma" on the work floor without any disciplinary action taken against her verbal abuser.

Walker also reveals another incident where a White co-worker was tasked with cleaning out a sewer. The worker, who felt the assignment was a menial one better suited for a "n***er" was never reprimanded for his racially explosive and offensive choice of words.

The latest lawsuit is just one of a few that have been lodged against Coca-Cola over the years. An April 1999 lawsuit filed by Black employees accused the company of erecting a corporate hierarchy in which Black employees were clustered at the bottom of the pay scale, averaging $26,000 a year less than White workers. In November 2000, in the largest settlement ever in a racial discrimination case, the Coca-Cola Company agreed to fork over more than $192 million to resolve the federal lawsuit brought by those Black employees which implemented changes in the way that the company manages, promotes and treats Black employees in the U.S.

In regards to the most recent discrimination allegations mentioned in the lawsuit against Coca-Cola, spokesperson Toney Anaya told the New York Daily News that such racial biases are not tolerated by the manufacturer.

Workers Claim Local Coca Cola Plants Are Racist Cesspools

Workers Claim Local Coca Cola Plants Are Racist Cesspools
By Joseph Alexiou | Gothamist | March 18, 2012

Working in one of greater New York’s two Coca Cola plants may not be such a Sesame Street-esque utopia for minority employees: Sondra Walker, a Coca Cola merchandiser, claims she was referred to as "Nappy Head" and "Aunt JaMamma," while on the job, with no reprimands for the perpatrator. She also claims one white co-worker wore a Confederate flag on the job, and another responded "What am I, a n—– or something?" when assigned to clean a sewer.

Including Walker, 16 black and hispanic production are suing the Coca Cola for providing a racist "cesspool" of a working enviroment, rife with racial discrimination. The workers are all from two local plants, in Maspeth, Queens and Elmsford (in Westchester). A spokesman said the company takes the allegations seriously, and is currently investigating the incidents.

Although Coke claims excellent workplace diversity and have received commendation from some minority business publications, the Atlanta-based company doesn’t have a sparklingly clean record on discrimination: in 2010 Coke had to pay $495K in back wages, plus interest, to 95 black and hispanic job-seekers after a federal investigation showed a hiring bias against minority workers. As with this case, Coke denied any wrongdoing.

Contact the author of this article or email tips@gothamist.com with further questions, comments or tips.

Coke’s not it: 16 workers sue, call giant ‘cesspool’ of racial discrimination

Coke’s not it: 16 workers sue, call giant ‘cesspool’ of racial discrimination;
Say they were given lesser assignments, unfairly disciplined and retaliated against for complaining
By John Marzulli | New York Daily News | March 16, 2012

Stop Coke Discrimination

Sixteen black and Hispanic production workers are suing Coca-Cola, claiming they have been forced to work in a " cesspool of racial discrimination."

The suit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, accuses the company of relegating minorities to less favorable assignments, unfair disciplinary action and retaliation for complaining.<

"Coca-Cola circles its wagons and calls (the plaintiffs) ‘nuts’ and ‘ingrates,’ " said their lawyer, Steven Morelli.

Several plaintiffs say they were subjected to racial epithets, and the people who used them went unpunished, according to the complaint.

The suits are centered on two production plants — one in Maspeth, Queens, and another in Elmsford in Westchester.

Sondra Walker said that when she was hired as a merchandiser at the Maspeth plant, she felt like she "had hit Lotto" because Coca Cola is such a prestigious company.

"I’ve never been called so many names as I have been at Coca-Cola," Walker told the Daily News, citing "Nappy Head" and "Aunt JaMamma" as examples.

Walker describes in the complaint an incident when a white worker wore a Confederate flag on his head and another in which a white employee complaining about cleaning a sewer allegedly said: "What am I, a n—– or something?"

"I thought this was a fair and honest company, as American as apple pie," said plaintiff Guillermo Nunez, who says he has suffered emotionally because of the treatment. "I thought I had made it. It was my American Dream."

Coca-Cola spokesman Toney Anaya said the company does not tolerate discrimination in the workplace.

"We take this matter seriously and are investigating the allegations," Anaya said in a statement.

jmarzulli@nydailynews.com

Parodies of Coca-Cola’s Shameless 2007 Super Bowl Black History Ads

Parodies of Coca-Cola’s Shameless 2007 Super Bowl Black History Ads

On Thursday, February 1, 2007, a few days preceding the Super Bowl in which two Black coaches were opposing each other, an ad appeared in The New York Times . The ad highlighted the evolution of Coke’s Contour Bottle and major events in Black History, including:

  • Chicago, 1893: Black doctor performs first successful heart operation;
  • Harlem, 1920s: An American Renaissance;
  • Brooklyn, 1947: Baseball shows us courage; it’s #42

Members of our Campaign saw this as a hypocritical ad and we created a factual parody seen below:

We are re-posting this since the Super Bowl will be played on Sunday, February 5,2012

The descriptions in this written-ad parody for the most part, came from The Polaris Institute’s report "Inside the Real Thing: Corporate profile on Coca-Cola Corporation."

For more information about Coke’s record of racial discrimination, go to "Inside the Real Thing: Corporate profile on Coca-Cola Corporation," Report by the Polaris Institute (page 40 of the document; page 42 of the file): http://www.polarisinstitute.org/files/Coke%20profile%20August%2018.pdf

;

At the same time, QuietLibrary.com had the same reaction to an animated ad that Coke did on Black History: "Coca-Cola Black History Timeline" during the Super Bowl and Quiet Library created their own parody, which they posted on YouTube.com :

U.S. hiring standards get left at border; Job ads that in this country might bring lawsuits alleging bias are routine in Mexico

U.S. hiring standards get left at border
Job ads that in this country might bring lawsuits alleging bias are routine in Mexico
By Marla Dickerson and Meredith Mandell | Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times | October 30, 2006

MEXICO CITY &mdash; When Michigan-based automotive supplier Lear Corp. needed a secretary for its office in the central Mexico state of Guanajuato, it placed a classified ad seeking a "female … aged 20 to 28 … preferably single … with excellent presentation."

And to make sure it got the right candidate, Lear asked applicants to include a recent photo with their resumes.

In the United States that ad might draw howls of protests and trigger lawsuits and hefty fines. But in Mexico, where jobs are scarce and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws all but non-existent, employers routinely select hires on criteria more appropriate for a beauty contest.

Job seekers considered too old, too chunky or too dark are screened out by companies that sometimes specify the ideal candidate’s marital status, height, weight, tone of voice, even the part of town in which the person should reside.

What is less known is that many U.S. corporations–including Coca-Cola, Pepsi Bottling, Shell Oil and 7-Eleven–are engaging in hiring practices that appear to violate their U.S. fair-employment policies.

They include companies that trumpet their diversity initiatives north of the border, even top-drawer Chicago-based law firm Baker &amp; McKenzie, which should be familiar with Mexican laws prohibiting discrimination.

"Why are so many of them not complying with the same standards they have to comply with in the United States? Because they can get away with it," said anti-discrimination attorney Gloria Allred.

Lear officials in the United States said they had no knowledge of the Mexican job posting.

Provided with a copy, spokeswoman Andrea Puchalsky later issued a statement declaring that the ad was not in keeping with Lear’s equal-employment policies and that it would be revised to remove references to sex, age and similar criteria.

Mexico’s constitution and federal labor code prohibit discrimination based on age, sex, ethnicity, religion, marital status, health and other factors. But legal experts say Mexicans rarely complain to authorities or file employment discrimination lawsuits, partly because seeking redress is a lengthy and expensive process.

"They don’t contract you if you don’t have a pretty face or a pretty body," said Patricia Tellez, a plump lawyer who was one of hundreds of anxious hopefuls packing a recent job fair in Tlajomulco, not far from Guadalajara.

Some U.S. employers should know better. Baker &amp; McKenzie, a Chicago-based law firm, recently advertised for a real estate attorney–a male one–for its office in the northern Mexico city of Monterrey.

Celene Caballero, a firm recruiter in Mexico, said Mexican clients feel more comfortable with men representing them. The firm, which a California jury in 1994 ordered to pay millions to a former female secretary to settle a landmark sexual-harassment case, said the online Mexican ad was "an aberration" that would be revised.

Historic Discrimination Settlement: Ingram vs. The Coca-Cola Company

Historic Discrimination Settlement: Ingram vs. The Coca-Cola Company

The case involved race discrimination in promotions, compensation and evaluations. Among other things, the plaintiffs alleged a substantial difference in pay between African-American and white employees; a "glass ceiling" that kept African-Americans from advancing past entry-level management positions; "glass walls" that channeled African-Americans to management in areas like human resources and away from power centers such as marketing and finance; and senior management knowledge of these problems since 1995 and a failure to remedy them.

In early 2000, the Court ordered both sides into mediation. The parties reached agreement on a Settlement-In-Principle on June 14, 2000. A final Settlement Agreement, valued at $192.5 million and designed to ensure dramatic reform of Coca-Cola’s employment practices, was officially approved by the Court on June 7, 2001.

Visit the Website