Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Resolution for UFT DA: Reject Waiver and Black

An attempt will be made to place this resolution on the floor at today's Delegate Assembly. Watch the Unity top-level machine sweat this one out. If the delegates were allowed to have their way, even the Unity rank and file are getting restless. But maybe, the leadership sees which way the wind is blowing and will go along. Ed Notes will be there covering.

WHEREAS, Cathie Black has served for nearly seventeen years on the board of Coca Cola, during which time the company has aggressively marketed its unhealthy drinks to children here and abroad, and contributed to the epidemic of childhood obesity, as revealed in today’s NY Times;

WHEREAS, over this period, Coca Cola has also been allegedly involved in death squads who targeted labor organizers in Central and South America, leading to two shareholder resolutions sponsored by the NYC Comptroller, calling for an independent investigation to discover whether  Coca-Cola colluded in anti-union violence in Columbia;

WHEREAS, on April 9, 2005, NYSUT, the parent body of the UFT passed a resolution that included the following clauses;

WHEREAS, more than 3,000 trade unionists have been assassinated in Colombia since 1990; and 

WHEREAS, both NYSUT and the AFT are on record as denouncing what the AFT Executive Counsel has called "the persistent violence against teachers and other working people in Colombia", noting "…that trade unionists continue to be the targets of threats, physical intimidation, displacement and even assassination."; 

WHEREAS, the Coca-Cola Company and its Colombian bottlers are being sued in the United States under the Alien Claims Tort Act for having "contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that used extreme violence and murdered, tortured, and unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders."; 

WHEREAS, a fact-finding delegation of labor, educator and student representatives including members of AFT, AFSCME/CSEA and CWA concluded, based on a 10-day trip to Colombia in January of 2004, that Coca-Cola is complicit in human rights abuses in Colombia" and that its "complicity is deepened by its repeated pattern of bringing criminal charges against union activists who have spoken out about the company's collusion with the paramilitaries."; 

WHEREAS, the Proxy Committees of the New York City Employees' Retirement System and the New York City Teachers' Retirement System, holders of 5,257.217 shares of Coca-Cola Company common stock with an estimated market value of $209,132,092, resolved on October 6, 2004 to submit a shareholder proposal at Coca-Cola's next annual meeting asking that Coca-Cola sponsor an independent investigation of allegations against the company, said investigation to include representatives from U.S and Colombian human rights organizations; 

WHEREAS, NYSUT voted in 2005 to refrain from serving or selling Coca-Cola products at its offices or at any venue for its events, meetings, conferences and conventions until the allegations have been investigated; 

BE IT RESOLVED that the United Federation of Teachers will urge Commissioner Steiner to deny a waiver to Cathie Black; based on her lack of educational qualifications, as well as the facts mentioned above.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the UFT will recommend to the Mayor to withdraw Ms. Black’s nomination, and embark on a full and public search to identify an individual with the full educational qualifications and experience to lead the nation’s largest public school system into the future.

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