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President of Energy Workers Union c
Subject: President of Energy Workers Union calls for investigation of Unocal's link to Burmese drug laundering.
President of Energy Workers Union Calls for Investigation of Unocal's
Link to Burmese Drug Laundering
Retired Union Member Submits Resolution for 1997 Shareholders Meeting
LAKEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Robert E. Wages, president of
the 90,000-member Oil, Chemical and
Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW), today called on Unocal
Corporation to "clean up its dirty international
business" and to investigate the allegation that Unocal's major partner
in a joint venture in Burma is serving as a conduit for
laundering money obtained from the illegal production and sale of heroin.
This week a retired OCAW member and former local union officer filed a
shareholders' resolution to be voted on by
shareholders at Unocal's 1997 annual meeting, calling for the outside
company board members to investigate the drug
laundering allegation; determine if company officials had any knowledge
of it; and recommend a course of action based on the
The allegation was made public in the December 16, 1996 issue of The
Nation, which reported on findings from a four-year
investigation by the Geopolitical Drugwatch in Paris that the Myanmar Oil
and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a partner with Unocal
in the construction of a natural gas line across the southern peninsula
of Burma, was the major channel for laundering the
revenues of heroin produced and exported by the Burmese Army.
According to the State Department, Burma is currently the largest
producer of illegal heroin in the world, and 60 percent of the
heroin seized by law enforcement officials in the U.S. comes from Burma.
"If the drug laundering allegation is true, it is very unlikely that this
could have occurred without the knowledge of Unocal
officials," said Wages. "Uncovering the truth may mean that Unocal bears
direct responsibility for the rise in heroin use in the
U.S.," he added.
He termed the drug laundering allegation "deeply disturbing, which, if
substantiated and coming on the heels of widespread
condemnation of Unocal's links to the use of child and slave labor in
Burma, will expose the crucial connection between the
company's dirty deeds in Burma and the destruction of our communities in
"It appears that Unocal, by abandoning its U.S. operations to take
advantage of low wage and slave labor in Asia, is leaving us
with a bitter legacy," said Wages.
"It's ironic," he added, "that in the search for higher profits, Unocal
management has placed its shareholders, many of whom
are OCAW members, at great risk since it is clear that the democratic
forces in Burma will prevail, and Unocal will eventually
be held accountable for crimes against the Burmese people."
Wages said his union is becoming more active in the movement to hold
Unocal accountable for its actions in Burma. "We have
a lot at stake in this -- our jobs, our communities, and the right of
people everywhere to live with fairness, dignity and respect,"
OCAW currently represents oil workers at Unocal refineries in California
and at the Uno-Ven refinery in Lemont, I11. (near
Chicago), owned jointly by Unocal and PDVSA, the government-owned oil
company of Venezuela. In November, Unocal
announced its intent to sell its West Coast refining, marketing and
transportation assets to Tosco Corporation. SOURCE Oil,
Chemical & Atomic Workers International Union
[PRNNewswire, 19 December 1996].