Principles For Mac

The Macbride Principles, by Father Sean McManus, President, Irish National Causus, December 1997.

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The Essence
The Principles
Support for the Principles


There are 80 publicly traded United States Companies in Northern Ireland and many of them--because of the systematic practice and endemic nature of anti-Catholic discrimination--are subsidizing discrimination. (However, since the MacBride Campaign began, 44 companies have agreed to 'make all lawful efforts to implement the fair employment practices embodied in the MacBride Principles' in their Northern Ireland Operations).


Since the British government undemocratically and violently created the State of Northern Ireland in 1920, Catholics have been discriminated against in alrnost every way, particularly in employment. All their many protests failed because the effectiveness of protests depended on the good faith of the British government. That good faith was not there then; it is still not there today.

What was needed was a campaign that did not depend on the good faith of the British govermnent, but on the fairness of the American people and the leverage of their investment and purchasing dollars... Hence, the MacBride Principles. The Principals were initiated, proposed and launched by the Irish National Caucus in November 1984.


The MacBride Principles--consisting of nine fair employrnent, affirmative action principles--are a corporate code of conduct for U.S. Companies doing business in Northern Ireland. The Principles do not call for quotas, reverse discrimination, divestment (the withdrawal of U.S. Companies from Northern Ireland) or disinvestment (the with drawal of funds now invested in firms with operations in Northern Ireland). The Caucus positively encourages non-discriminatory U.S. investment in Northern Ireland.

The MacBride Campaign is conducted on a three-fold level:

(1) Federal- A Bill currently before Congress would forbid U.S. Companies in Northern Ireland from exporting their products into the U.S. unless they are in compliance with the MacBride Principles.

(2) State and Municipal- Millions of dollars in State and City pension and retirement funds are invested in American corporations doing business in Northern Ireland. The MacBride Campaign lobbies to have legislation passed to direct these funds to be invested, in the future only in companies that endorse the Principles (again, note, not divestment or disinvestment). This is the first step. The second step--when the MacBride Principles have been passed--is to get a contract compliance law passed.

(3) Shareholder Resolutions- The Campaign works to have Shareholders pass resolutions endorsing the Principles.


The MacBride Principles have been passed in 16 States; and have been passed or endorsed by over 40 Cities, and are pending in many more. They have also been endorsed by the following: U.S. President Bill Clinton; U.S. House and Senate; 1996 Presidential Candidate and former Senate Majority Leader -- Senator Bob Dole; the Irish Government; The Reverend Jesse Jackson; Randall Robinson of TransAfrica--the group that sponsored Nelson Mandela's visit to the United States; New York State Governor George Pataki; Former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo; New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former New York City Mayor David Dinkins; former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn (now Ambassador to the Vatican); the AFL-CIO; the National Council of Churches; the American Baptist Convention; the Episcopal Church; the Lutheran Pension Board; the United Church of Christ Board of World Ministries; the United Methodist Church; many U.S. Catholic bishops; and by virtually all Irish-American organizations.

The MacBride Principles have been the most effective American eampaign on Ireland since Partition. It has provided Irish-Americans with a direct, meaningful and non-violent means of addressing injustice in Northern Ireland. No longer does one hear the British Government or others telling Irish-Americans to 'mind their own business.' It is their business to mind what their investment dollars are doing in Northern Ireland.

The MacBride Principles are non-violent, morally correct, politically effective and our duty as responsible investors.


The author is President of the Irish National Caucus (lNC). The INC is the Irish Lobby on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.. It is non-violent and non-sectarian. It has no foreign principal and does not support, morally or financially, any group or party in any part of Ireland. It does not send money to Ireland. All its funds are raised and spent in the United States.

Irish National Caucus · Capitol Hill · 413 East Capitol Street, SE · Washington, D.C. 20003-3810Tel. (202) 544-0568 · Fax (202) 543-2491 · E-mail: [email protected]

...initiated proposed, and launched by the

Irish National Caucus in November, 1984.

(Amplifications issued by Sean MacBride in 1986 appear in plaiin text)

(1) Increasing the representation of individuals from under-represented religious groups in the work force including managerial, supervisory, administrative, clerical and technical jobs. A work force that is severely unbalanced may indicate prima facie that full equality of oppurtunity is not being afforded all segrnents of the community in Northern Ireland. Each signatory to the MacBride Principles must make every reasonable lawful effort to increase the representation of under-represented religious groups at all levels of its operations in Northern Ireland.

(2) Adequate security for the protection of minority employees both at the work place and while travelling to and from work. While total security can be guaranteed nowhere today in Northem Ireland, each signatory to the MacBride Principles must make reasonable good faith efforts to protect workers against intimidation and physical abuse at the work place. Signatories must also make reasonable good faith efforts to ensure that applicants are not deterred from seeking employment because of fear for their personal safety at the work place or while travelling to and from work.

(3) The banning of provocative religious or political emblems from the work place. Each signatory to the MacBride Principles must make reasonable good faith efforts to prevent the display of provocative sectarian emblems at their plants in Northern Ireland.

(4) All job openings should be advertised publicly and special recruitment efforts made to attract applicants from under-represented religious groups. Signatories to the MacBride Principles must exert special efforts to attract employment applications from the sectarian community that is substantially under-represented in the work force. This should not be construed to imply a diminution of opportunity for other applicants.

(5) Layoff, recall and termination procedures should not in practice favor a particular religious group. Each signatory to the MacBride Principles must make reasonable good fairh efforts to ensure that layoff, recall and termination procedures do not penalize a particular religious group disproportionately. Layoff and termination practices that involve seniority solely can result in discrimination against a particular religious group if the bulk of employees with greatest seniority are disproportionately from another religious group.

(6) The abolition of job reservations, apprenticeship restrictions and differential employment criteria which discriminate on the basis of religion. Signatories to the MacBride Principles rnust make reasonable good faith efforts to abolish all differential employment criteria whose effect is discrimination on the basis of religion. For exarnple, job reservations and apprenticeship regulations that favor relatives of current or former employees can, in practice, promote religious discrimination if the company's work force has historically been disproportionately drawn from another religious group.

(7) The development of training programs that will prepare substantial numbers of current minority employees for skilled jobs, including the expansion of existing programs and the creation of new programs to train, upgrade and improve the skills of minority employees. This does not imply that such programs should not be open to all members of the work force equally.

(8) The establishment of procedures to assess, identify and actively recruit minority employees with potential for further advancement. This section does not imply that such procedures should not apply to all employees equally.

(9) The appointment of a senior management staff member to oversee the company's affirmative action efforts and the setting up of timetables to carry out affirmative action principles. In addition to the above, each signatory to the MacBride Principles is required to report annually to an independent monitoring agency on its progress in the irnplementation of these Principles.

[As of April, 1995]

United States President Bill Clinton (who attached the MacBride Principles to the International Fund for Ireland on August 24 1996)

United States House and Senate

· 1996 Presidential Candidate and former Senate Majority Leader -- Senator Bob Dole

· The Republican National Committee

· Most of the Congressional Black Caucus

· Most of the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs

· Distict of Columbia Shadow Senator Jesse Jackson

Other Prominent American Elected Officials

· New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

· Former New York State Govemor Mario Cuomo and Current Governor George Pataki

· Former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins

· Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn (now U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican)


· The following 16 States have passed MacBride Principles Legislation:

Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska,

New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont.

(' Denotes States that have also passed contract compliance legislation)

· The Following 4 States have passed Resolutions which Endorse The MacBride Principles:

Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, and Virginia.

Cities and Counties

· The following Cities and Counties have passed MacBride Principles Legislation:

Albany County* (NY), Baltimore (MD), Binghamton (NY), Boston (MA), Burlington (UT), Chicago (IL),

Cleveland*(OH), Detroit (MI), Hartford (CT), Kansas City (MO), Lackawanna County (PA), Monroe, Orange

City (NY), Minneapolis (MN), New Haven (CT), New York* (NY), Phiiadelphia (PA), Pittsburgh (PA),

Rensselaer* (NY), Rochester* (NY), San Francisco (CA), Scranton* (PA), Saint Louis (MO), Saint Paul (MN),

Springfield (MA), Tucson (AZ), Washington D.C., Wilmington (DE), and Omaha (NE).

(* Denotes Cities that have also passed contract compliance legislation on the MacBride Principles)

· The follwing Cities and Counties passed resolution endorsing the MacBride Principles:

Bucks City (PA), Bridgeport (CT), Cambridge (MA), Carbondale (PA), Chicago (IL), Honolulu (HI), Lawrence (MA),

Nashua (NH), Orangetown (NY), Portland (ME), Providence (RI), Rockland County (NY), Union City (NJ), West

Caldwell (NJ), Westchester County (NY), Worcester (MA), and Yonkers (NY).

U.S. Companies Implementing the MacBnde Principles

The following US. Companies have agreed 'to make all lawful efforts to implement the fair employment practices embodied

in the MacBride Principles' in their Northern Ireland operations:

· AES Corporation

· Alexander and Alexander

· AM International

· Amencan Home Products

· Avery Dennison

· AT&T

· Bemis

· Brooklyn Union

· Dana

· Data General

· Digital Equipment Company

· Dupont

· Federal Express

· Ford Motor Company

· Fruit of the Loom

· GATX Corporation

· General Motors

· Honeywell

· Household International

· Hyster (NACCO lndustries)


· Information Management Resources

· MacDonald's Corp.

· Marsh and McClennan

· 3M Corp.

· Northern Telecom

· NYNEX Corp.

· Oneida

· Philip Morris

· Pitney Bowes, Inc.

· Proctor and Gamble

· Reynolds Metal

· Sara Lee

· Shaw Industries

· Sonoco

· Teleflex

· Texaco

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· Tyco Labratories

· Unisys

· Viacom

· VF Corporation

· Warnaco

· Waste Management

· Westinghouse

· Xerox

* Under a 1990 agreement, Lockheed agreed to urge its sub-contractors in Northern Ireland to implement the MacBride Principles


· The Irish Government; the British Labour Party

· Major sections of the British and Irish trade union movements

· Nobel Peace Prize Winner and co-founder of the Peace People, Mairead Corrigan of Belfast

Religious Leaders, Organizations and Pension Funds

· American Baptist Convention

· Archdiocese of Manchester, New Hampshire

· Cardinal O'Connor

· Church Women United

· Florida Catholic Conference

· Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility

(a coalition of 250 Protestant and Catholic denominations)

· Lutheran Pension Board

· Oblate Fathers

· Sisters of Dominic of Sensiniwa, WI; Caldwell, NJ; Adrian, MI and Sparkill, NY.

· Society of Atonement

· Unitarian Universalist Association

· United Church of Christ Board of World Ministries

· American Baptist Churches, USA

· Archdiocese of New York

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· Christian Brothers Investment Services

· Episcopal Church in America

· Franciscan Friars

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· Leadership Conference of Religious Women

· National Council of Churches

· Sisters of Charity of New York and New Jersey

· Society of Jesus

· United Methodist Church

· Recently the Protestant and Catholic Churches in Ireland joined with the Protestant and Catholic Churches of the United

States of America and issued a call for Fair Employment and Investment in Northern Ireland. This is what they said

about the MacBride Principles:

'Many Americans support the MacBride Principles, as amplified, as good faith, nonviolent means to promote fair

employment. We urge that any support of these amplified principles, which offer positive values and focus on fair

employment, be joined with continued support for strong fair employment measures and an active commitment to

investment and job creation. The amplified principles, as many of their advocated agree, should not be used to

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discourage investment or encourage disinvestment.'

· In March, 1994, the European Parliament issued a Report on discrimination in Northern Ireland. The Report stated

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that American pressure was 'responsible for reopeningthe question of discrimination in Northern Ireland....' This

Report also states that 'Northern Ireland Catholics see the worldwide 'MacBride Principles' campaign as a great source

of support in overcoming their problems and [this Report] endorsed the campaign's moral principles....'

Organized Labor in America


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· Irish-American Labor Coalition

· National Education Association

Major Non-religious, Private Institutional Shareholders

· Ford Foundation Pension Fund

· Franklin Research and Development Corporation

· Georgetown University Pension Fund

· Harvard University Pension Fund

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· Radcliffe College Pension Fund

· Wellesley College Pension Fund

· Wesleyan University Pension Fund

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