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17 Apr 2003

David Kaplan, Houston Chronicle

Human rights, salary at issue for Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola should...use its influence in Colombia to encourage greater protections of human rights. These were just a few of the more controversial proposals members of the Atlanta company's board of directors fielded from some of the 400 shareholders gathered here Wednesday for Coke's annual meeting...Perhaps the most controversial proposal concerned allegations that the company's plant managers used paramilitary groups to intimidate and kill eight union organizers at a bottling plant in Barrancabermeja, Colombia...Coke denies that it is in any way responsible...Richard Shaw of the AFL-CIO implored the company to take a more active role in helping protect the union organizers. Deval Partrick, Coke's general counsel, said the company has gone as far as providing security for Colombian individuals being threatened.