For Immediate Release
Thousands Demand Teachers Union End Partnership with Coca-Cola
WASHINGTON - American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten and AFT staff have been sent this petition, signed thus far by over 14,000 people:
As strong supporters of teachers and teachers' unions, RootsAction.org and its members are distressed that the AFT is partnering with Coca-Cola.
Four months ago, AFT members caused their union to begin a boycott of Coca-Cola over its reliance on child labor. But now the union leadership has caved.
With terms of the agreement undisclosed, AFT ended the boycott -- and has begun a partnership to do things like "advocating for increased educational opportunities for children."
Labor activist Ray Rogers, director of Corporate Campaign Inc., says: "The most effective way for Coca-Cola to help end illegal child labor in places like the Philippines and El Salvador is not through pointless additional studies, audits and meaningless rhetoric, but to pay sugar processors enough money to pay fair wages to sugar cane harvesters."
The Coca-Cola company is responsible in part for the epidemics of obesity and type-2 diabetes that afflict children in the United States and elsewhere.
According to the executive director of U.S. Right to Know, Gary Ruskin, the AFT's agreement "will undermine the moral authority of teachers nationwide. That is a regrettable outcome for teachers, schools, and especially our children, who deserve so much better from their teachers."
Action for a Progressive Future (the organization that runs RootsAction) is a nonprofit, progressive, public policy advocacy group that will engage citizens in the democratic process and help make sure legislators hear their voices.