"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.
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
William F. Stavropoulos
Dow Chemicals Media Relations Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold Shapiro - a Director at Dow and a member of Dow's Environment, Health, Safety
and Public Policy Committee. Also President of Princeton University
Jacqueline K. Barton - Dow Chemicals Board Member and Chemistry Professor at Caltech - email@example.com
The Office of Policy and Evaluation
50 Victoria Street, 19th Floor
Hull, Quebec K1A 0C9
Tel: (819) 953-7092
Fax: (819) 953-6169
Subcommittee on Antitrust,
Mike Dewine's Washington, D.C. Office