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Classified in: Business
Subjects: LBR, AVO

AMID GROWING CONTROVERSY, AMAZON SHAREHOLDERS SET FOR HISTORIC VOTE TOMORROW ON FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING


Leading proxy advisors, asset managers and institutions are backing a shareholder proposal filed by SHARE and the Catherine Donnelly Foundation

TORONTO, May 24, 2022 /CNW/ - Leading independent proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis recommend votes for the first shareholder proposal on freedom of association and collective bargaining to be heard at Amazon.com, Inc.'s annual meeting Wednesday.

Leading proxy advisors & institutions are backing a shareholder proposal filed by SHARE at the Amazon AGM May 25.

The shareholder proposal filed by SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research and Education), representing the Toronto-based Catherine Donnelly Foundation, urges Amazon's board of directors to review how the Company's actions in the face of union organizing efforts align with its stated commitment to freedom of association and collective bargaining and core International Labour Organization Conventions.

The vote comes as Amazon is navigating a storm of controversy over reports of recent attempts to undermine workers' rights to form or join a union.

Major institutional investors including the US$1.2 trillion Norges Bank, the US$1 trillion asset manager Schroders, the $263 billion New York City Pension Plans, the $250 billion Florida SBA and the $312 billion pension fund CalSTRS have also indicated they will vote for the proposal.

In its report, ISS recognized that "the company is facing ongoing controversy with respect to its warehouse operations and suppliers, and agreed that "[s]hareholders would benefit from increased disclosure and transparency, in order to comprehensively assess how the company is managing human rights-related risks, especially regarding freedom of association issues in its warehouse operations in the U.S. and abroad."

"You can't tell shareholders one thing and then do exactly the opposite," said Kevin Thomas, SHARE CEO. "When Amazon tells us they respect freedom of association but we see public reports of repeated anti-union behavior by management, the integrity of this company's management and the integrity of its statements to shareholders are called into question. As Amazon shareholders we have a historic chance to show management that fundamental rights are not to be messed with."   

Over the past years, Amazon has been subject to negative high profile and overwhelming media coverage in the U.S and internationally accusing the Company of limiting these fundamental rights through the use of several anti-union tactics, including intimidation strategies, retaliation actions and surveillance systems. Such practices directly contradict Amazon's own commitment "to non-discrimination and non-retaliation that ensures equal treatment for union and non-union employees."

A report published by the Center for Law and Work (CLAW) at Berkeley Law on May 16, 2022, indicates that "that Amazon's freedom of association policy, on its face, is non-compliant with international labor standards, and Amazon management's conduct before and after issuing the policy continues to violate international standards."

"Amazon's track record of aggressive suppression of freedom of association deprives its workers of the fundamental rights to organise together and bargain collectively for fair wages and working conditions, and vital health and safety protections. Shareholders, by voting to support the people who make Amazon's business work, can help change this" said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

Amazon must respect the freedom of working people to come together in a union and negotiate for a fair return on our work," said AFL-CIO President Elizabeth Shuler.  "By voting for this proposal, shareholders can uphold workers' rights and help make Amazon a better company for its employees, customers, communities, and investors," she added.

About SHARE

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.

SOURCE SHARE (The Shareholder Association for Research and Education)


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