Home WORLD Amazon Shareholders’ Meeting: Promoting the hiring of an hourly worker

Amazon Shareholders’ Meeting: Promoting the hiring of an hourly worker



follow closely Amazon.com Inc joint drive failure Labor activists in the United States last month hoped that Wednesday’s meeting of company shareholders will lead to a climax for a worker joining the e-commerce giant’s board of directors.

In shareholder resolutions supported by some investors, including Oxfam America, the Seattle-based company requested an hourly job in the governance committee to make key financial and management decisions.

The proposal will expand the influence of employees, as well as the influence of the community in which Amazon operates the fulfillment center, and use greater corporate impetus to enhance the power of other stakeholders besides ownership and executives.

Unexpectedly, although Amazon’s board of directors itself opposed the resolution, the proxy advisory organization Shareholder Service (ISS) recommended that shareholders approve the proposal.

A few weeks after the union failure in Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon announced plans to build a new warehouse in the state [File: Jay Reeves/AP]

Amazon’s board of directors also opposed the appointment of an independent chairperson, a resolution on disclosures of potential anti-competitive practices and the implementation of racial rights audits.

In the United States, few large companies provide workers with seats on the board of directors. However, as society’s concern about judicial justice and income inequality has increased, this issue has become widely known.

Last month, employees at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to form the company’s first union in the United States.

One of Bessemer’s workers, Jennifer Bates, voted for the union. He will speak at the shareholders meeting. At the meeting she said that having a board representative “will make our voice very important.” signal”.

Bates said: “Based on my experience working at Amazon, I know it doesn’t listen to employees.” “I have tried many times to raise concerns about workplace safety, scheduling and discipline.”

“The opinions of employees are valuable”

Sarah Zoen, senior American policy adviser at Oxfam, said that the board resolution is symbolic.

She told Al Jazeera: “Although we hope to get a high number of votes, we do not want this proposal to be passed.” “In other words, we will not submit such proposals for approval.”

Zorn said: “We use this resolution as an opportunity to emphasize labor issues in the company’s own operations and expose other human rights issues throughout the supply chain, and ultimately push the company to take action and strengthen accountability.”

She added that the corporate world is increasingly aware that the views of employees are critical to the board.

A recent survey conducted by the Institutional Investor Committee on employees entering the S&P 100 board of directors shows that there is growing support for policies that encourage directors to interact with employees.

The overwhelming majority (97%) have formulated policies that allow board members to have access to management or employees. Approximately half of the companies have established company policies that enable board members to have contact with all employees, while 36% have established procedures for board interaction with employees.

Oxfam is part of the global alliance (Make Amazon Pay), which focuses on workers’ rights.

Zorn said: “Amazon may be the leading American company in this field.” “If we don’t fulfill our promises, we will lose confidence in Amazon that really solves these problems.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos) said in a recent shareholder letter: “Although we have achieved success, I am well aware that we need to provide a better vision for the success of our employees.” [File: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP]

“We need a better vision”

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment specifically to Al Jazeera on the Al Jazeera resolution.

However, the company’s 2021 commissioned report (PDF format) Contains complete responses to all shareholder proposals this year.

The company stated in its investor relations profile: “We have long recognized the importance of employees participating in our decision-making process.” “Our global staff totals approximately 1.3 million, which includes everything from software development to product development and product sourcing. Positions, and then to the diversified work of staffing customer service centers, distribution centers, data centers, and physical stores.”

The statement went on to say that Amazon has various policies to “promote consistent, honest and open participation with employees…to continuously improve our workplace and employee experience.”

In his last time Shareholder letter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos) said, “Amazon is a company that creates jobs for computer scientists and highly educated people. It not only creates jobs for itself, but is also proud of it.” .

Bezos wrote: “Despite our achievements, I know very well that we need to have a better vision for the success of our employees.” “I am committed to adding one more item. We will be the best employer and The safest workplace on earth.”

“It’s better to leave it to the management”

Delta Air Lines Inc and United Airlines Holdings Inc are the few U.S. companies that have employee representatives on the board of directors, and such shareholder resolutions have not yet attracted people’s attention in many companies. note. However, ISS’s support for Amazon may be decisive.

Even if there is no majority vote, the resolution may still cause major changes.

Another acting adviser, Glass Lewis, did not support the resolution because of concerns about the independence of the board and the dilution of shareholder value, and an hourly board representative attended the meeting.

The analysis in the company’s Amazon proxy document prepared for Wednesday’s meeting said: “Lewis Glass believes that the board’s recruitment policy is best left to management.”

It continued: “The requirement that companies consider nominating candidates from a relatively narrow group negates the principle of selecting the most qualified director to serve on the board at any given time.”

The rights of employees and the concerns of customers and the negative impact on the communities living near Amazon’s distribution centers have been emphasized.

This week, as the attorney general of Washington, DC, Amazon has been plagued by regulatory pressure Blame the company Engage in anti-competitive practices.

Moreover, the spotlight also points to environmental racism, with some of the company’s climate activists alleging-as part of a proposed racial rights audit-that Amazon’s facilities cause disproportionate pollution in minority communities.


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