The Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola Enterprises have been hit by yet more pressure from unions in the US.

The Teamsters Union, which represents around 14,000 Coca-Cola Co. and CCE employees in the US and Canada, said late last week that it has leafleted sports fans attending the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Basketball Tournament games in St. Louis and East Rutherford, New Jersey to urge the NCAA to drop Coca-Cola as a key sponsor. The leafleting follows a similar campaign last month outside the Powerade Drag Racing Series in California.

The union cited concerns about Coca-Cola's alleged "destruction of natural resources in developing countries, its worker and human rights abuses in the US and abroad, and the elimination of good-paying US jobs" at CCE.

The NCAA has designated Coca-Cola as the first official NCAA Corporate Champion. Coca-Cola is a key sponsor of the tournament, and is paying the NCAA $500m in an 11-year beverage marketing and media rights deal reached in 2002, Teamsters noted.

"A company that pollutes, discriminates, destroys good American jobs and may have played a role in the murder of workers is not a company that kids should be looking to as a role model," said Jack Cipriani, director of the Teamsters Brewery and Soft Drink Workers Conference. "NCAA Tournament fans deserve to know the truth about a key sponsor of the games."

Last month, CCE confirmed that it will cut 3,500 jobs in North America. The restructuring is expected to cost CCE about US$300m in restructuring charges over the next two years.