Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala

By Henry J. Frundt | Go to book overview

3
The Church Takes Stock

"Could you come to my office? I want you to hear this tape." It was William Wipfler, head of the Office of Human Rights, National Council of Churches, speaking to a staff member from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) on the floor below. The tape had been hand-delivered from Guatemala. "We will send a copy of this to Chuck Dahm in Chicago. He's got some Coke shareholders out there." The taped testimony had a particular impact on the Sisters of Providence, who received similar information from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Philadelphia.

Roman Catholics are usually not connected to the National Council of Churches, but the ICCR coalition is an exception. It includes 150 religious orders as well as 12 major Protestant denominations, and the groups of nuns and priests are organized into regional Catholic coalitions like the Illinois Committee for Corporate Responsibility. The Sisters of Providence owned 200 shares of Coca Cola stock, and their representative, Sister Dorothy Gartland, gave the go-ahead to Rev. Chuck Dahm, the Dominican founder of the Illinois Committee and a former missionary to Latin America, to contact the company. Coca-Cola President J. Lucien Smith admitted "difficulties between labor and management in this operation. . . . However, there is no provision in the bottlers agreement governing relations between our company and this independent bottling company which give us any right to intervene on such a dispute." Nevertheless, Smith did ask Coke's office in Costa Rica to have EGSA reply directly to the allegations. 1

The Sisters of Providence were concerned about the workers' urgency, so when EGSA sent no reply, they filed a share

-28-

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Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - The Lockout/Strike 1
  • 2 - Subdivision 17
  • 3 - The Church Takes Stock 28
  • 4 - First Settlement 42
  • 5 - Repression 56
  • 6 - The Corporate Forum 72
  • 7 91
  • 8 - Boycott! 105
  • 9 - The Spring Offensive 123
  • 10 - Negotiations Begin 135
  • 11 - Abduction 153
  • 12 - A Contract! 163
  • 13 - An Oasis Runs Dry 173
  • 14 - Occupation 187
  • 15 - The Third Campaign 200
  • 16 - Echoes of Victory 213
  • Concluding Reflections 222
  • Notes 233
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 262
  • About the Author 269
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