May 29, 2023 – A shareholder proposal on freedom of association and collective bargaining receives strong support from shareholders at Amazon’s annual meeting on Wednesday, May 24.
The proposal filed by SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research and Education) on behalf of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, SOC Investment Group, CCLA Investment Management, AP3, the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and ACTIAM, urged Amazon’s Board of Directors to assess how the company’s actions in the face of union organising efforts align with its stated commitment to freedom of association and collective bargaining and core International Labour Organisation Standards.
Leading proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis supported the proposal despite management’s opposition. Major institutions backed the proposal too, including CalPRS, CalSTRS, Norges Bank, the New York City Funds, SBA Florida, and CPPIB.
“This landmark vote reflects investors’ recognition that employees should be able to exercise their right to organize and form unions freely, without fear of reprisal or intimidation. It also highlights a clear disconnect between shareholders’ expectations on labour rights and Amazon’s anti-union stance,” said Sarah Couturier-Tanoh, Associate Director of Corporate Engagement & Advocacy at SHARE.
“Over the past year, in votes at Amazon, Tesla, and Starbucks, investors have repeatedly signalled that companies need to align their approach to freedom of association with international law and standards.”
In total 34.9% of votes were cast in favour of SHARE’s proposal. Accounting for the large number of shares controlled by company insiders, 42.2% of independent votes were cast in support of the proposal.
In the face of ongoing unionization efforts at Amazon globally, investors expressed concerns that Amazon’s alleged conduct towards employees seeking to unionize contradicted its stated commitment to respect its employees’ fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and runs contrary to the ILO Core Labour Standards.
A similar proposal, filed by SHARE and a coalition of investors at Starbucks received majority support from shareholders in March of this year.
SHARE is a leader in responsible investment services, research and education for institutional investors, providing shareholder engagement, consulting services, education and timely research that help investors integrate environmental, social and governance issues into the investment management process.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Jennifer Story, Director of Education and Advisory Services, SHARE
Jstory@share.ca 416.461.6310 (mobile)