Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala

By Henry J. Frundt | Go to book overview

16
Echoes of Victory

THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT EXPANDS

News of the Costa Rican signing brought jubilation to those clustered within EGSA's high cement walls, and rippled hope throughout the city. CONUS and CUSG resolved to prevent other plant shutdowns. Facing 40 percent salary reductions, workers at Acrylic Thread struggled to keep their plant open. When the Chiclet Adams union protested its company's reopening under another name to undercut the union, their general secretary was abducted, but the workers rallied to become the second Guatemalan affiliate of the IUF ( Parades int. 1984). Guatemala City's 3,000-strong municipal union elected a slate committed to higher wages, weekly paychecks, and "an end to outside contracting, unjust firings, forced early retirement and having to provide their own tools" ( Slaughter 1984).

These examples grew into a minor movement: when half of the ALINSA aluminum union was fired in June, a week of protest won their reinstatement. Employees at the University of San Carlos detained the Rector and staff for 11 hours to demand reforms in procedures and salary ( IN 8-17- 84)). The movement gained wider support in June when the IMF suspended an important loan, pending monetary and tax reform. In September the minister of the economy announced: "Guatemala is faced with a severe economic crisis and the predictions for 1985 are even worse" ( NG 9- 84):3). As many businesses cut employment and threatened to close more plants, protests mounted. Led by the FTG, CUSG argued on behalf of workers fired from Embotelladora San Bernardino, SA, for trying to form a union ( NG 5-

-213-

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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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