The Michigan Daily - Tuesday; March 14, 2006 - 5
Open Letter Regarding The Coca-Cola Company's
Commitment to Labor Rights
As someone who has devoted my career to labor issues, I share the concerns of
student activists regarding labor conditions around the world. Through my work
with the United Nations International Labor Organization, I have seen firsthand the
manifold difference it makes in the lives of individuals, families, communities and
entire countries when employers live up to their responsibilities to workers.
Committed to Fair Labor Practices.
My employer, The Coca-Cola Company, is committed to fair labor practices every-
where we do business. Around the world, Coca-Cola workers are free to exercise
their rights to union membership and collective bargaining without pressure or
interference. In fact, we are one of the most highly unionized multinational
companies in the world, and we keep working to improve our labor relations
Given the state of the world today, many of the countries where we operate are
burdened with ongoing conflicts. Concerns have centered on Colombia, where
violence against trade unionists and many others has been going on for decades and
has deterred most people from joining unions. Even so, more than 30 percent of
Coca-Cola workers in Colombia belong to unions, compared to a national average of
Working to Keep Employees Safe.
We share the concerns that many have expressed about the violence in Colombia and
we are working to keep our employees safe. Coca-Cola bottlers work with unions
and the government to provide emergency cell phones, transportation to and from
work, secure housing, and a host of other measures to protect employees. Additional
security measures are routinely provided to union leaders and special measures are
undertaken when a threat against unionized employees is brought to the attention of
the bottler's management.
Committed to Colombia.
We are proud of our 70-year history in Colombia and our contributions to local
communities, and we are committed to supporting the country's progress. We
invite universities, non-government organizations, as well as our critics, to join in a
constructive engagement process to improve the conditions for labor in Colombia.
For The Coca-Cola Company
Edward E. Potter
Director, Global Labor Relations