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Unocal Shareholders Meeting Draws Protesters

May 23, 2000|Associated Press

Protesters hoisting puppet effigies and making passionate pleas failed to persuade stockholders of Unocal Corp. to tie executive pay to the company's human rights record. About 75 protesters gathered outside the company's satellite office in Brea, banging on empty oil drums and holding signs urging, "Unocal out of Burma"--a reference to the company's participation in the Yadana pipeline, a $1.2-billion conduit that carries gas from wells off the coast of Myanmar--formerly known as Burma--to customers in Thailand. Inside at the company's annual shareholders meeting, activists accused the company of ignoring reports that the Myanmar government forcibly relocated residents and used slave labor in conjunction with the pipeline's construction. The charges were strongly denied by Unocal Chief Executive Roger Beach. "There were no human rights violations on our project and that's a fact," Beach said. A resolution that sought to tie executive compensation to an annual, independent review of the company's compliance with social responsibility guidelines failed, garnering 16.4% of shareholder votes. The resolution was supported by 11 religious groups, which together hold 360,000 Unocal shares. Shares of El Segundo-based Unocal fell 38 cents to close at $37.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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