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An estimated 500 black former Coca-Cola employees rallied in Atlanta over the weekend, calling the company's massive job cuts racially motivated and accusing Coke of mistreating workers. At the same time, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People threatened a national boycott of Coke products. The Atlanta-based company, the world's largest soft-drink producer, faces allegations that it tolerated discrimination in pay scales, promotions, and performance reviews. Coke denies the claims. A court is considering whether to grant class-action status to the case.

Two weeks after butchers at a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville, Texas, voted to form what would be the retailer's first union, the company said it will shut down its meat-cutting operations there and in 179 other stores in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Wal-Mart plans instead to sell only prepackaged meat. The displaced meat cutters will be offered other jobs at their stores, a company spokeswoman said.

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