Prevent Armageddon, Inc.: stop the Merger between Dow and Union Carbide

"NO JUSTICE, NO MERGER", read a sign from a protest at the May 11, 2000 Dow shareholders meeting on the merger with Union Carbide. If they succeed in getting the merger pushed through, Dow would be the second largest chemical company in the world (after DuPont), with an estimated $60 billion in sales by 2010. People around the planet have reason enough to stop a union between these companies:  both companies have appalling histories of putting profit before human and environmental health.

Also, this merger is based on a criminal lie: Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) claims it has no criminal liabilities. In fact Union Carbide does have liabilities. The company still faces criminal charges in India.  Indian courts have charged Union Carbide with culpable homicide and reckless and depraved indifference to human life for the 1984 Bhopal massacre. Union Carbide did not maintain safety measures to prevent the poisonous gas leak that killed thousands and permanently injured hundreds of thousands. In 1989, the Indian goverment agreed a treachorous $470 million settlement with Union Carbide in India's Supreme Court, but criminal charges were reinstated in 1991 and are still pending. The corporation and former chairman Warren Anderson have been absconding trial in India and have not yet been punished for their alleged crimes against humanity.

The 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal is the largest industrial accident in world history. UCC is liable for damages in excess of $1 billion and if the merger goes through, "we will seek confiscation of Dow's assets in India to put towards Union Carbide's criminal and environmental liabilities," says Satinath Sarangi, who is a founding member of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

In one of their annual meetings, UCC's former Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kennedy, claimed that "Bhopal is history". This is news to Bhopal's residents! The aftereffects of the pesticide cloud continue to plague hundreds of thousands of Bhopalis. People face chronic illnesses like lung damage, gastrointestinal diseases, gynecological problems, immune disorders, and cancers. Future generations will likely be affected as well. Ten to fifteen Bhopalis still die each month because of gas-related diseases. Public memory and outrage will not allow Bhopal to become buried and forgotten history.

"It's not in my power to take responsibility for an event that took place 15 years ago with a product we never developed at a location where we never operated," Dow Chairman Frank Popoff says. But justice has not yet been done. "The massacre in Bhopal is the big reason why the name Union Carbide continues to be a burden on the corporation," continues Sarangi. "It is still a source of negative public relations. Aware of this, Union Carbide initiated its vanishing act way back in 1992." Union Carbide folded its Hong Kong division and changed its name, because  courts cannot proceed against a company that has dissolved itself. We must not allow Union Carbide's name to become history through its merger with Dow.

There are actions we can take to help stop the merger and ensure that Union Carbide has to face up to its criminal liabilities. American organizations with wide national and international networks have joined the International Alliance for Justice in Bhopal, such as INFACT, Essential Action and the Association for Indian Development.

Dow Chemicals also has a history of putting profit before human lives; Dow was the top producer of Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant sprayed over 4.5 million acres in Vietnam during the war with the United States in the late 1960s. Agent Orange has been directly implicated in the suffering of thousands of Vietnamese from chemical-related illnesses and birth deformities. Dow made magnesium for bombs; Union Carbide produced nuclear materials and chemical weapons during World War II. Dow faces thousands of lawsuits related to silicone breast implants. It is also the world's largest producer of chlorine: a byproduct of this is  the highly toxic chemical dioxin, of which Dow is the international king. Dioxin is linked to cancer, birth defects, and fertility problems.

But we have to hurry. The companies only need the rubber stamp of the Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau. The merger was due to go through at the end of June 2000 - it has been delayed, but not for long. To help, send the following letter, your own letter, or a combination of both to the addresses below.

Dr. William Joyce
Chairman/CEO
Union Carbide Corporation
39 Old Ridgebury Road
Danbury, CT 06817-0001
You can paste the letter into Carbide’s e-mail portal at:
http://www.ucarbide.com/contact.html


Tomm Sprick, Manager
Corporate Communications Dept.
Union Carbide Corporation
39 Old Ridgebury Rd.
Section L4-505
Danbury, CT 06817-0001
Tel. (203) 794-6992; Fax: 7031
E-mail: spricktf@ucarb.com

William F. Stavropoulos                Frank Popoff, Chairman       
CEO, Dow Chemicals                    Dow Chemicals
2030 Dow Center                         2030 Dow Center                        
Midland, MI 48642                       Midland, MI 48642

Dow Chemicals Media Relations Email : amainsworth@dow.com

Harold Shapiro - a Director at Dow and a member of Dow's Environment, Health, Safety and Public Policy Committee. Also President of Princeton University
Email - hts@Princeton.EDU or profhts@Princeton.EDU

Jacqueline K. Barton - Dow Chemicals Board Member and Chemistry Professor at Caltech - jkbarton@its.caltech.edu

Robert Pitofsky
Chairman
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20580
E-Mail: antitrust@ftc.gov

The Office of Policy and Evaluation
Room 394, Bureau of Competition
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20580
Tel. (202) 326-3300
E-Mail: antitrust@ftc.gov

Mergers Branch
Competition Bureau
Industry Canada
50 Victoria Street, 19th Floor
Hull, Quebec  K1A 0C9
Tel: (819) 953-7092

Fax: (819) 953-6169
E-mail: compbureau@ic.gc.ca


House Committee on the Judiciary
Representative Henry Hyde, Chairman
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Subcommittee on Antitrust,
Business Rights, and Competition
Senator Mike DeWine, Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Room SD-161, Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
http://www.senate.gov/~dewine/request_form.html

Mike Dewine's Washington, D.C. Office
140 Russell Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2315 /Fax: (202) 224-6519


Dear _____________

On August 13, 1999, an application for a proposed merger between Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide Corporation was submitted to the Security Exchange Council and other regulatory authorities. I understand that false information was given in the application: the companies committed a criminal lie regarding Union Carbide's outstanding criminal liabilities.

Indian courts charge UCC with the 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, and hold UCC liable for the killing of thousands of innocent people and assaulting of hundreds of thousands others through reckless corporate conduct. Union Carbide Corporation is evading criminal prosecution in India and has been doing so for nine years.

Executives of Union Carbide pretend that "Bhopal is history." Public memory refuses to allow Bhopal to become history. The company seems to be using this merger to try to disappear. I strongly oppose the Union Carbide-Dow merger. I demand that responsible agencies stop this merger from taking place. Such a move would allow these companies to arrange their affairs in such a way as to be in compliance with the law.

If the responsible agencies fail in their duty, Dow Chemicals must realize that a merger with Union Carbide means that they fully inherit their outstanding criminal liabilities.

Sincerely,