The Public Square

Shivali Tukdeo on the Coalition Against Coke Contract


I'm Shivali Tukdeo and I am a member of Coalition Against Coke Contract, a community organization.

Coca-Cola is "the biggest-selling soft drink in history". But there is rather an ugly side to the glitter of Coca-Cola, as people in Colombia, India, Turkey, Indonesia and Guatemala would vouch. Their stories show a pattern of human rights abuse, labor violations and environmental destruction. Perhaps it is time to take a closer look at the "real thing" behind Coca-Cola's profits.

Coca-Cola's human rights and labor abuse are most pronounced in Colombia where the paramilitary forces and company management have committed a total of 179 human rights violations against workers who live amidst constant threat and intimidation. Since 1989, eight Coca-Cola employees have been killed, some of them within the factory premises. Coca-Cola's union-busting tactics are not confined to Colombia alone, for workers in Coke bottling operations in Turkey and Indonesia are also routinely subjected to violence, intimidation and arbitrary termination. In India, Coca-Cola is guilty of extracting millions of gallons of groundwater, trashing out toxic waste into the fields, and selling drinks with dangerous levels of pesticide contents.

Despite worldwide protests against Coke and massive student campaigns on hundreds of campuses all over the US, the University of Illinois maintains business as usual. According to the exclusive contract between University of Illinois and Coca-Cola, only Coke products can be sold on campus.

Coalition Against Coke Contracts has planned a rally on the quad of the UIUC campus on Tuesday, September 12th at noon to protest the University's contract with Coca-Cola. Coalition Against Coke Contracts is a broad coalition of campus and community groups in Champaign-Urbana that has mobilized to demand that the university end its financial relationship with Coca-Cola. Amit Srivastava, the director of India Resource Center will be the main speaker at the rally.

For information about this group and the rally, go to: That's

The rally again is this Tuesday, September 12 at noon on the Quad of the UIUC campus. Be there! Kick Coca-Cola Out!