Boycott Shell Bulletin

(No. 11)
by Boycott Shell Campaign
Washington, DC, United States
Undated, about late Spring or Summer 1988
4 pages
Type: Newsletter
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States, Europe, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom
Language: English
Contents: Bill Affecting Shell Passes House Committee • More Major Banks, YMCA Join Shareholder Call • Broad International Coalition Takes Over Shareholder Meetings • Methodists, Episcopal Churches Endorse Boycott • Mayors Urge Shell To Withdraw • Shell Admits Sales Cut By Boycott • S.A. Workers Accuse Shall of Hypocrisy • Postcards Available • Shell Helps Bust Coal Sanctions • Aetna Says It Only Supports Phony Disinvestment • DUTCH MEDIA FEATURES BOYCOTT • Bishop Tutu Supports Boycott, Sanctions • Moral Issue? What Moral Issue? • SHELL BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN MATERIAL • A prohibition on Shell and other oil companies from acquiring new U.S. federal coal, oil, or gas leases as long as they do business with South Africa passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The proposal, by Rep. Bob Wise (D-WV), was added to a broad sanctions bill, H.R. 1580, introduced by Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA) and approved by the House committee on May 3. H.R. 1580 would end all trade between the U.S. and South Africa and require all U.S. firms to disinvest. An official of Royal Dutch/Shell, C. Dekker, said that the company "will seriously have to reconsider its production in South Africa" if the ban on leases becomes law, according to Rep. Wise. The newsletter reports on the May 11 stockholders meetings in the Netherlands and London. Media coverage of the meetings was dominated by speeches against Shell's continued involvement in South Africa by people from the U.S., Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands. More than half of the opening address by Shell's managing director, LC. van Wachem, dealt with South Africa. A highlight was a speech by James Motlatsi, president of the National Union of Mineworkers. John Banovic of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) also spoke. State Street Boston Corp., American National Bank and Trust, and the national YMCA have joined the call for a special stockholders meeting to vote on withdrawal from South Africa. These banks were lobbied by anti-apartheid activists in Massachusetts and Illinois, respectively. The banks join Wells Fargo Bank and Mellon Bank and many public employee pension funds and church-related funds in demanding a special Royal Dutch meeting, which is mandated under Royal Dutch's bylaws if 10 percent of the shareholders call for it. About half the necessary number of shares are committed. A Shell spokesperson admitted that the boycott has affected its sales. About a hundred mayors of cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe have made a statement demanding that Royal Dutch/Shell withdraw from South Africa. The U.S. mayors include the following: Abramson (Louisville), Arrington (Birmingham), Baesler (Lexington), Barnes (Gary), Barry (Washington, DC), Blakey (East Palo Alto), Bradley (Los Angeles), Cisneros (San Antonio), Flynn (Boston), Fraser (Minneapolis), Gulley (Durham), Hancock (Berkeley), James (Newark), Laird (Santa Cruz), McKane (Lansing), Pena (Denver), Perry (Hartford), Royer (Seattle); also Sanders (Burlington), Shackelford (Little Rock), Wilson (Oakland), Andrew Young (Atlanta), and Coleman Young (Detroit). Shell claims to treats its South African workers well, but workers there dispute it. The newsletter reports on labor actions to push for wage increases at Shell facilities in Port Elizabeth, near Durban, and at Shell's Veetech subsidiary. Royal Dutch/Shell plays a key role in disguising South African coal as Dutch coal to make it easier to sell in Europe, according to a London Observer report. The newsletter includes a photograph of leaders of protests in Washington, D.C., including D.C. Council Chair Dave Clarke, Mayor Marion Barry, UMWA President Rich Trumka, Central Labor Council chair Josh Williams, IUE President Bill Bywater, and United Food and Canning Workers (UFCW) Vice President Willie Baker. The newsletter mentions the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), and AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).
Used by permission of the United Mine Workers of America.
Collection: Private collection of David Wiley and Christine Root