Tune in to AFL-CIO convention

Even if you’re not in town, you can tune in via the web to the AFL-CIO convention, which runs July 25-28 in Chicago. An Internet alert from the Working Families e-Activist Network promises to send out updates — as the votes are taken — on how the union movement will “fight for good jobs with health care and retirement benefits, enable more workers to organize unions, end the Wal-Marting of America’s jobs,” and more. Over 900 delegates will attend the convention, which marks the 50th anniversary of the merger of the AFL and the CIO. It will be preceded by pre-convention conferences on how to strengthen diversity in union leadership, organizing, building grassroots strength and global labor solidarity. Use this link to receive e-mail updates and information about listening in via webcast: www.unionvoice.org/campaign/convention2005.

Global solidarity — the real thing

The Coca-Cola Corp. is the target of a growing boycott as a result of charges of human rights violations in Colombia, South America and India. Coke is already banned on 16 college and high school campuses, including New Jersey’s Rutgers University, Carleton College in Minnesota, and the College of DuPage and Lake Forest College in Illinois, according to Jessica Rutter, a national organizer for Students Against Sweatshops.

On July 7, administrator and student representatives from many more campuses, including University of Michigan, University of Indiana and DePaul University met at the DePaul campus in Chicago to establish a working group to investigate the death of nine Colombian trade unionists at the hands of Coca-Cola-backed death squads. Though present at the meeting, company reps will not be part of the investigating committee, which student reps insisted should be independent. The group will also look into charges of pollution of groundwater in India by Coca-Cola bottling plants there. A follow up meeting was called for Aug. 9 and will include representatives from the Colombian beverage workers union SINALTRAINAL and affected Indian communities.

PWW Labor Editor Roberta Wood (rwood@pww.org) compiles Labor Update.