ISS and Glass Lewis back Amazon shareholder proposal on freedom of association

Updated: May 20, 2021

For the 2022 proxy season, SHARE filed a shareholder proposal (Item 13) at Amazon asking for a review of the application of the fundamental rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

As of May 12, the two biggest proxy advisory firms, ISS and Glass Lewis, decided to back the proposal, even despite Amazon’s insistence that having a general human rights policy is sufficient to answer the question. This is a big repudiation of the company’s position that all is well and fine.

In addition, on May 18, multinational asset management company Schroders shared that they would be supporting all resolutions in favour of workers’ and digital rights at Amazon, Meta and Alphabet.

Filed on behalf of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, this proposal will be voted on at the company’s May 25 annual meeting, and will be the first time a proposal has called into question the company’s actions on union rights and collective bargaining.

Over the past few years, numerous reports have alleged that Amazon has repetitively used anti-union tactics to undermine their workers’ ability to join or form a union. Amazon’s failure to properly uphold freedom of association and collective bargaining rights exposes shareholders to significant reputational, operational, legal and regulatory risks.

Considering the breadth and the depth of Amazon’s controversies around freedom of association, it is crucial for shareholders to understand how its human rights policies align with the International Labour Organization and United Nations Declarations.

This is an extremely timely vote with the recent allegations of anti-union behavior by the company at its Staten Island facility, and indicates that there is more to the story that shareholders need to hear.

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