Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co.
Legal case and aftermath
In 2001 Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola was filed in a Miami district court, demanding a monetary compensation for $500 million for the deaths of three workers, members of the National Union for Food Industry Workers who worked in the Coca Cola Bebidas y Alimentos plant in Carepa in northern Colombia.The lawsuit was brought by the Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal (National Union of Food Workers) and alleged that Panamco, a Colombian Coca-Cola bottling company, assisted paramilitaries in murdering several union members. Even though the human rights violation occurred in Colombia, the union attempted to use the Alien Tort Claims Act to bring the case into a US district court. The ATCA grants U.S. courts jurisdiction in any dispute where it is alleged that a tort has been committed in violation of the “law of nations” or a treaty of the United States. 
District court dismisses charges against The Coca-Cola Company and bottlers
On March 31, 2003, the US District Court dismissed charges against The Coca-Cola Company because the alleged wrongdoing either occurred in the United States but was too removed from the injury or occurred abroad and did not have a substantial origin within the United States. Federal Judge Jose E. Martinez allowed the case to go forward against two Coca-Cola bottlers: Bebidas y Alimentos and Panamerican Beverages, but not against Coke itself. On September 4, 2006, Judge Martinez dismissed the remaining claims against the two bottlers.
A Florida District Court in 2006 and the US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit in 2009 ruled for Coca-Cola's motion to dismiss. The Circuit court cites a lack of evidence to link the allegations to the Colombia government and Coca-Cola. They change it from a geographical dismissal to a subject matter and claims dismissal.
"Killer Coke" Campaign is launched
United Nations International Labour Organization Investigation
"Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft-drink maker, asked a United Nations labor panel to conduct an independent investigation of its operations in Colombia amid accusations the company ignored violence against workers there."
As of April 10, 2007, the ILO investigation is severely behind schedule. Although the investigation was initiated in April 2006, ILO offices in Colombia were not set up until December 2006.
|Timeline of events |
First bottling-plant worker in Colombia killed
Three more workers killed.
|December 5, 1996
Isidro Gil killed by paramilitaries &
|December 7, 1996
Paramilitaries gather workers and have them sign union resignations.
|July 20, 2001
Lawsuit filed in Miami
|March 13, 2003
District Court judgement on Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola
|April 16, 2003
"Killer Coke" campaign is launched
|April 13, 2005
Coca-Cola commissioned study finds no Colombian anti-union violence
The University of Michigan and New York University ban Coke products from their campuses. Bringing the number to over 23.23
- ^ Forero, Juan (July 26, 2001). "Union Says Coca-Cola in Colombia Uses Thugs". New York Times.[dead link]
- ^ Foust, Dean; Geri Smith; Elizabeth Woyke (January 23, 2006). ""Killer Coke" Or Innocent Abroad? Controversy over anti-union violence in Colombia has colleges banning Coca-Cola". Business Week 3968: p. 46.
- ^ Collingsworth, Terry (March 5, 2006). "Another "Classic Coke" Move to Deny and Delay Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Colombia". International Labor Rights Fund. Retrieved April 9, 2006. PDF file
- ^ Cohan, Jeffrey (April 29, 2003). "Coke Targeted In Union Lawsuit Case Marks Unusual Effort To Aid Labor In Colombia". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A–1.
- ^ Unknown, Author (May 12, 2003). "Coca-Cola avoids lawsuit over labor leader's murder". Civil RICO Report 19 (1).
- ^ laborrights.org
- The Coca-Cola Case Full Documentary.
- Archive copy of Order on Motions to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction at Wayback Machine
-  Website of non-profit Killer Coke.