Boycott Shell Bulletin

(No. 7)
by Boycott Shell Campaign
Washington, DC, United States
Undated, late June or July 1987
4 pages
Contents: Stockholders Meetings Dominated By Protests • Canadians To Join Boycott • Sullivan Call For Corporate Withdrawals • Alternative Corporate Report Highlights Mismanagement • Attempt To Distort S.A. Views Fails • Ads By Both Sides Shows Boycott's Strength • SHELL BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN MATERIALS • The newsletter says protests in connection with Shell's annual stockholders meetings have added fuel to the campaign to force the company to stop doing business with South Africa; with management officials refusing to allow a vote on ending Shell's economic support for apartheid, major stockholders renewed their call for a special shareholders meeting to consider ending that support. The newsletter says under the corporate bylaws, owners of 10 percent of the stock, or about 26.8 million shares, can call a special stockholders meeting with a specific agenda; already, owners of more than 12 million shares have agreed to support the call, including major public employee pension funds, churches, and banks such as Wells Fargo and Mellon. The newsletter says protesters showed up in force at the simultaneous annual meetings of Royal Dutch/Shell's co-owners, Royal Dutch Petroleum (based in the Netherlands) and Shell Trading and Transport (based in London); in the Netherlands, debate over Shell's role in South Africa also dominated the press coverage; Dutch speakers at the shareholders meeting included representatives of the Dutch labor federation (FNV), the Dutch parliament, churches, and anti-apartheid coalitions; speakers from the United States included Andy Smith of the American Baptist Churches and John Banovic, secretary-treasurer of the United Mine Workers. The newsletter says a campaign to boycott Shell has been launched in Canada, bringing to 12 the number of countries with formal boycott efforts; the Canadian Labour Congress announced that it would promote the boycott, along with church and anti-apartheid organizations throughout Canada; other countries where active campaigns are being conducted include the U.S., Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Belgium, Italy, Ireland and Portugal. The newsletter says Rev. Leon Sullivan, whose "Sullivan Principles" for fair employment have been used by multinational corporations as a justification for continuing operations in South Africa, announced June 3 that he no longer supports those Principles and now urges cutting off all economic ties with that country; Royal Dutch/Shell has cited its supposed compliance with a similar code of conduct developed by the European Community in defending its refusal to withdraw from South Africa. The newsletter says the Sullivan and European codes of conduct have allowed multinational corporations to continue to do business within the apartheid system, while supposedly improving their treatment of black workers; Rev. Sullivan now agrees with anti-apartheid organizations which have argued that any form of corporate support for the South African economy helps prop up the apartheid system, which essentially denies blacks the right to vote, own land, or live or work where they want. The newsletter says Royal Dutch/Shell management has failed in an attempt to blunt recent stockholder criticism by claiming that anti-apartheid leaders and organizations in South Africa have changed their mind about economic sanctions and demands for disinvestment; hearing that Shell was making such claims, the South Africans acted quickly to set the record straight. The newsletter discusses the anti-apartheid movement, Rev. David Haslam, FNV (Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging), black trade unionist in South Africa, President Shirley Carr, Allan Boesak, the United Democratic Front (UDF), the New York Times, TransAfrica, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Mail, the New Nation, Shell South Africa Chairman John R. Wilson, COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions), Frank Meintjies, Beyers Naude, the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Bill Lucy, AMSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), anti-apartheid groups in South Africa, killings, the banning of meetings, and the South African Military and Police.
Used by permission of the United Mine Workers of America.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers