Solidarity, Far & Wide, at Exxon Protest
About 25 people from all over Texas and three guys from Australia protested Exxon/Mobil’s shareholder meeting in Dallas on May 30.
The sometime biggest, and sometime second biggest, corporation in the world has its headquarters right outside Dallas. They hold their annual shareholders’ meetings in the luxurious Meyerson Symphony Hall downtown. Across the street, labor and environmental activists revealed corporate crimes to newspersons and the world at large.
The surprise group came from Victoria’s Gippsland Basin, Australia, where Exxon has 23 offshore installations. Their spokesperson, Troy Carter, spoke on Facebook Live for seven minutes. He said that 230 members of the Australian Workers Union and the Electrical Trades Union were terminated 343 days earlier. The next day, they were offered their jobs with a 40% pay cut! They have been protesting every day since.
The Australian’s printed materials were meant to explain to Exxon stockholders that the corporation was spending a lot more on union busting than it would have cost them to keep their well-trained workforce. But the corporation would not let them into the symphony hall; consequently they had to disseminate their message broadly.
In the United States, the Australian’s tour is being helped by the United Steelworkers of America. The Australians plan to meet with Dallas AFL-CIO leader Mark York before heading to Austin to talk with Texas AFL-CIO leaders. Their Texas tour will end in Houston, where there are many petrochemical workers.
Speakers talked about the danger to our planet from fossil fuels. A woman from Corpus Christi, on the Texas coast, said that her organization was trying to stop Exxon from building the biggest plastics factory in the world. “Do you want more plastic in your oceans?” “Do you want more plastic in your air?” “Do you want more plastic in your bodies?” she asked.
A man from Waco, in Central Texas, talked about special environmental problems caused by Exxon in his hometown.
Herb Keener of Communications Workers 6215 and Gene Lantz of United Auto Workers Local 848 spoke for the “blue” section of the “blue/green” (labor/environmental) alliance. Keener’s talk was captured on Facebook Live. He mentioned that he expected Exxon to follow other major corporations in spending their windfall from last December’s giant tax giveaway by purchasing their own stock. These financial maneuvers enrich stockholders without any benefit to employees nor to the general economy.
The protest had a long list of sponsors: 350 Dallas, Society of Native Nations, Dallas Peace and Justice Center, CodePink Dallas, Communications Workers of America/CWA Local 6215, Dallas Sierra Club, Downwinders At Risk, Dallas Palestine Coalition, Pax Christi Dallas, Our Revolution North Texas, Texas Drought Project, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), Solidarity Texas – Dallas Chapter, System Change Not Climate Change, Veterans For Peace North Texas, Waco Friends of Peace and Climate, Texas Coalition for Environmental Awareness, and more.
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