Amazon Shareholders See Continued Strong Support for Proposals Raising Concerns Regarding Workers, Climate Change, and the Misuse of Tech
NEW YORK, NY, WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2023 – Amazon ($AMZN) shareholders are able to announce the final votes behind a group of 13 proposals that went to a vote at last week’s annual meeting of stockholders.
Consistent with a pattern established in prior years, Amazon management delayed the release of the final vote tallies until late Friday afternoon in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.
Many of the proposals received strong backing in the 30 – 40% range, despite founder Jeff Bezos's roughly 12% control of the company reducing the chances for a majority vote on a shareholder-sponsored proposal.
At the annual meeting, seven former and current Amazon workers challenged the CEO and Board on their failure to address risks related to worker rights, the sale of surveillance technology, and the company’s contribution to climate risk. Workers organizing with United for Respect (UFR), Missouri Workers Center (MWC), and No Tech for Apartheid were joined by two workers in Bessemer, the recently unionized Palmdale Delivery Service Partner, and Chris Smalls from Amazon Labor Union.
Videos of the workers are here:
Said Nadira Narine, ICCR’s Sr. Program Director who directs ICCR’s Advancing Worker Justice program and helps coordinate shareholders’ engagements with Amazon, “We are particularly pleased to see continued strong support for proposals invoking foundational worker rights’ themes such as freedom of association and worker health and safety as the company is notorious for its failures in this area. When over one-third of shareholders call for changes to the way Amazon treats its workers, we believe management and the board have an obligation to respond.”
"Amazon's human capital management strategy implements constant surveillance, demanding quotas, and a punitive ‘time-off-task’ tracking system - all contributing to high injury and turnover rates,” said Constance Ricketts, Head of Shareholder Activism at Tulipshare, which filed a proposal calling for a report on working conditions that received 35.4% overall support. “Amazon’s self-reporting of health and safety data has been challenged in a complaint to the SEC and a report by the Strategic Organizing Center, numerous OSHA citations, and an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice regarding possible fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others. This proposal received strong investor backing showing that shareholders agree with Amazon employees, activists, and even former Amazon executives that the company's current management system is unsustainable without worker-driven social responsibility.”
“This is a big win for workers, and for investors who recognize that good human capital management practices are crucial to companies’ success. As one of the largest employers in the world, Amazon has the power to influence labor rights globally”, said Sarah Couturier-Tanoh, Manager of Corporate Engagement and Shareholder Advocacy, SHARE, which filed the proposal calling for a human rights impacts assessment that received 34.9% support .“Amazon can no longer ignore its union problem as workers, investors, and regulators expect the board and the management to demonstrate a genuine intention to respect workers’ rights, including freedom of association and collective bargaining across its operations.”
Notably, a crop of first-time proposals all achieved the threshold of support required to be eligible for refiling next year, including one proposal requesting that Amazon align its lobbying activities with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global warming below 1.5 °C that received a significant 23.9% result.
“As a world-leading corporation, Amazon has the opportunity to also lead in climate awareness, climate action, and climate transparency. The strong vote on this 1st-time proposal demonstrates that shareholders are eager for the company to move the needle globally – in ways that help itself, its peers, and the world at large to meet these unprecedented challenges,” said Bruce Herbert, Chief Executive of Newground Social Investment.
All the proposals and their vote results can be found on this webpage.
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) is a broad coalition of more than 300 institutional investors collectively representing over $4 trillion in invested capital. ICCR members, a cross-section of faith-based investors, asset managers, pension funds, foundations, and other long-term institutional investors, have over 50 years of experience engaging with companies on environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) issues that are critical to long-term value creation. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability. Visit our website www.iccr.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.