Koch endorsed MacBride Principles

Edward I. Koch trying to play a bagpipe before the St. Patrick's Day parade on New York's Fifth Avenue, March 17th, 1983. Photograph: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Edward I. Koch trying to play a bagpipe before the St. Patrick's Day parade on New York's Fifth Avenue, March 17th, 1983. Photograph: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times


In his capacity as New York mayor  Edward Koch, who died today aged 88, endorsed the MacBride principles for Fair Employment in April 1985.

Devised to address discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland the principles were the focus of a US-wide campaign during the 1980s.Campaigners sought endorsement from churches, state governors and politicians as well as from corporations.

Compiled by founding member of Amnesty International and Nobel Prize winner Seán MacBride, Senator John Robb, trade unionist Inez McCormack and the Rev Brian Brady, the principles were later incorporated into US law by president Bill Clinton.

The nine principles constituted a corporate code of conduct for American companies doing business in the North and drew inspiration from the “Sullivan Principles” which were aimed at guiding US investment in South Africa during the Apartheid era.

American companies that are recipients of US contributions to the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) must be in compliance with the principles.

Mr Koch initially opposed the MacBride Principles but later consented with the trustees of New York city’s employees’ Retirement System to approve the application of the principles to their pension fund.

The MacBride Principles were widely adopted by US-based corporations and signatories were expected to report annually to a committee which monitored implementation of the measures.

The MacBride Principles:

1. Increased representation of the minority on the workforce, including managerial, supervisory, administrative, clerical and technical jobs.

2. Adequate security for the protection of minority employees both at the workplace and while traveling to and from work.

3. The banning of provocative religious or political emblems at the workplace.

4. All job openings should be publicly advertised and special recruitment efforts should be made to attract applicants from under-represented religious groups.

5. Lay-off, recall, and termination procedures should not in practice favor particular religious groupings.

6. The abolition of job reservations, apprenticeship restrictions and differential employment criteria, which discriminate on the basis of religious or ethnic origin.

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.

8. The establishment of procedures to assess, identify, and actively recruit minority employees with the potential for further advancement.

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.

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