Contents: Major Stockholders Demand Special Meeting On South Africa Role • April Actions Build For International Protests That Begin May 9 • Europeans Oppose South Africa Coal • BOYCOTT SHELL: Spread the News • SHELL BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN MATERIALS • At a March 31 press conference, Harrison Goldin, New York City comptroller, and Gordon Smith, treasurer of the American Baptist Churches Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board, announced a new campaign aimed at Royal Dutch Petroleum, the Dutch company that owns 60 percent of Royal Dutch/Shell, and Shell Trading and Transport, a British company that owns the other 40 percent. Shell Oil Co., in turn, is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch/Shell. Investors have learned that the company's bylaws allow owners of 10 percent of outstanding shares to force a special meeting of shareholders. Owners of nearly 12 million shares have pledged support for a resolution calling for withdrawal from South Africa. These include the Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System, Police Pension Fund, and Fire Department Pension Fund of New York City, plus American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, United Methodist Church Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Church (USA), California Public Employee Retirement System, California State Teachers Retirement System, New York State Teachers Retirement System, United Christian Missionary Society, Oblates of Mary Immaculate-Southern Province, Dominican Sisters of the Sick Poor, and the Diocesan Investment Trust of the Diocese of Newark. Mellon Bank and Wells Fargo also have pledge support, following meetings between boycott supporters and corporate officials. Boycott supporters picketed the annual meetings of other Royal Dutch stockholders, such as J.P. Morgan, Bankers Trust, and Irving Bank, which had not signed the petition. At the Irving Bank meeting, boycott representatives used the nomination of John Bookout, Shell Oil's chief executive officer, to the bank’s board of directors to question Irving Bank's failure to press for a Shell withdrawal from South Africa. At a news conference on April 22, the Miners International Federation (MIF), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICTFU), and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) called on the countries in the European Community (EC) to stop buying coal produced in South Africa. Royal Dutch/Shell is co-owner of the Rietspruit coal mine in South Africa which exports up to 6 million tons per year to Italy, Spain, West Germany, and other countries. Shell also helped finance the massive Richards Bay coal export terminal in South Africa. The newsletter reports on boycott activities in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Ireland. Anti-apartheid coalitions in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and most countries in Western Europe will conduct protests leading up to the May 14 stockholders meetings of Royal Dutch/Shell's parent companies held simultaneously in the Netherlands and in London. The newsletter mentions Jan Olyslaegers, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the American Federation of Teachers, Jack Yoedt, Service Employees Local 29, Father Richard Zellk, the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Corporate Responsibility, Dennis Brutus, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Ken Zinn, and the United Mine Workers.
Used by permission of the United Mine Workers of America.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers