Despite focus on Amazon worker issues, no shareholder proposals passed


Amazon, in the spotlight on working conditions and in the face of more than a dozen shareholder proposals, announced Wednesday at its annual general meeting that none of the resolutions were passed.

Many of the 14 AMZN resolutions from Amazon.com Inc.
+ 2.57%
proxies were related to workers. These include: examining workers’ safety and health disparities; a report on the company’s use of concealment clauses in employment, termination and liquidation contracts; a report on workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining; a third-party audit of working conditions; and a report on the average gender and race wage gaps. Three resolutions were presented at the meeting by Amazon warehouse workers.

In addition, Amazon warehouse worker Daniel Olayiwola filed a plant resolution urging the company to end the use of productivity quotas and to monitor workers in its warehouse facilities and the distribution network.

“Every day, Amazon workers, like me, get injured at work,” he said, according to the text of his statements. “If you’re a driver, a collector, a guard, when you work for Amazon, you endanger your health and safety every turn.”

See: As Amazon shareholders call for an audit of the warehouse’s working conditions, the report finds more than double the injury rate than other stores

Amazon, which urged investors to vote against all shareholder resolutions, prevailed despite recommendations from influential Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis proxy advisory firms that investors vote on many of the resolutions.

Asset manager Schroders, who has $ 990 billion under management, had predicted that he would vote on three of the proposed proposals: a report on workers’ safety and health differences; more information on workers’ freedom of association; and a report on the working conditions of the warehouse.

Marina Severinovsky, head of sustainability at Schroders in North America, said on Wednesday afternoon that the results of the vote were not surprising, but that she did not expect the changes to come easily or quickly.

Schroders has been associated with Amazon in trouble with workers since 2015, Severinovsky told MarketWatch. “It will probably be a multi-year process to change existing realities,” he said.

He added that there seems to be more political, regulatory and social will to examine workers’ problems, especially after the coronavirus pandemic “changed the way we perceive work and relate to work … It is the beginning of the ‘impulse’.

See: Amazon union leader: “It’s not a Democratic or Republican thing. It’s a workers’ thing.”

Amazon also announced that shareholders approved its executive compensation program and that the majority voted in favor of all board members. ISS and Glass Lewis had urged investors to vote against executive compensation, which they described as mismatched with performance.

The results are preliminary; the company must submit the vote count to the Securities and Exchange Commission within the next four days.

See: The union push for Amazon, Apple and Starbucks could be the “most important moment in the American labor movement” in decades



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