Teamsters Urge NCAA to Drop Coke Sponsorship
Union Cites Labor, Human Rights, and Environmental Abuses
WASHINGTON - Teamsters rallied in Dayton, Ohio, today at the NCAA
Men's Basketball Tournament game at the University of Dayton arena
to urge the NCAA to drop key sponsor Coca-Cola. The union cited concerns
about Coca-Cola's destruction of natural resources in developing countries,
its worker and human rights abuses in the U.S. and abroad, and the
elimination of good-paying U.S. jobs at Coke bottler and distributor
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE).
Throughout the March Madness playoffs, the Teamsters will hand out
leaflets informing NCAA fans about Coke's troubling environmental
and human rights record - including Coke's possible contamination
of water and farmland in India, a current lawsuit against the company
for allegedly allowing death squads to murder pro-union employees
in Colombia, and a record-breaking $192 million Coke paid to settle
a case involving widespread racial discrimination.
The NCAA has designated Coca-Cola as the first official NCAA Corporate
Champion. Coca-Cola is a key sponsor of the tournament, and is paying
the NCAA $500 million in an 11-year beverage marketing and media rights
deal reached in 2002.
"The NCAA should stand for what's best and brightest in college athletics,
including fair play, integrity, and sportsmanship," said Jack Cipriani,
director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference.
"Coke's record sure doesn't match those high ethical standards. A
company that pollutes, discriminates, destroys good American jobs
and may have played a role in the murder of workers is not a company
that kids should be looking to as a role model. NCAA Tournament fans
deserve to know the truth about a key sponsor of the games"
Here in the United States CCE, Coca-Cola's largest bottler, plans
to eliminate and restructure thousands of middle-class jobs in the
U.S. under a new business model. Coke and CCE are engaged in a concerted
campaign to destroy job security, pension benefits and health care
coverage for the workers and their families. In February, CCE announced
plans for job cuts during an investors' telephone conference call
despite Coke executives portraying their economic outlook as "solid."
"For us, our members come first," Cipriani said. "But, with Coca-Cola
and CCE, workers get the short end of the stick. All this while the
current CEO of Coca-Cola was given a 2006 salary, bonus, incentives
and perks in excess of $20 million. And the former CEO of CCE was
awarded $10 million in cash, stock and other perks in his lavish severance
compensation package. The NCAA truly tarnished its image of a fair
player when it teamed up with Coca-Cola."
The Teamsters Union represents more than 14,000 Coca-Cola and CCE
employees in the United States and Canada.
Contact: David White, 202-439-1904 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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