FELATRAC: Two years of struggle and solidarity

Second anniversary of the Latin American Federation of Coca Cola Workers (FELATRAC). Founded on 6 May, 2008 in Buenos Aires, it has been constantly growing and acting in defense of the interests of Coca Cola workers in the region and worldwide.

FELATRAC has its roots in the 10th Latin American Regional Conference (Buenos Aires, 21-25│10│1991), when the proposal of creating Trade Departments was approved, thus becoming more suitable for a growing number of members in terms of reflection and action throughout the region.

In 1998, in the city of Minas, Uruguay, a vote for the creation of the Beverage Department also voted Raúl Álvarez, general secretary of the Argentinean Federation of Carbonated Beverages and Related Industry Workers (FATAGA) as its president.

During the following years, the Rel-UITA beverage membership grew, particularly in Coca Cola. It was then when the question arose: How to turn our representativity in the Coca Cola system in Latin America to our advantage?

Since then we began to consider the design of a new structure, and it was precisely in Panama, in February 2006, when this idea gain momentum. An informal dinner with colleagues at a hotel spontaneously turned into working dinner with the participation of Raúl Álvarez, general secretary of FATAGA; Lázaro “Lacho” Antonio Serrano, then general secretary of the Union of Workers of Embotelladora Central (STECSA│Guatemala); Luis Alejandro Pedraza, president of the National Agro-Food Union of Colombia (UNAC); Pablo Quiroga and Jorge Campos from FATAGA; Norberto Latorre, president of the World Committee of Hotel, Tourism, Restaurant and Catering workers of the IUF and myself.

I do remember very well the defense of Luis Alejandro Pedraza in favor of such a structure and when he addressed Raúl Álvarez, emphasizing “We need a Latin American federation and such federation needs you as president”.

Raúl Álvarez became very enthusiastic and such enthusiasm is still present today in every solidarity action, in every support action requested by a member union.

This year we will go back to Panama, where the Executive Committee of the Federation will meet in order to assess past actions and identify new strategies to go on growing and strengthening our joint work.

With two years of existence, FELATRAC is not only a reality but also a need recognized by all unions of the industry because it is an essential instrument which needs to be strengthened to face the future.

Greetings, FELATRAC!

Gerardo Iglesias

See the original text in Spanish on Rel-UITA here)

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