Public pension plans in New York and New York state are launching a proxy battle to oust two Amazon directors, in an effort to highlight what pension programs say are unsafe working conditions in retailer’s warehouses.
The five city plans and the state program, New York State Common Retirement Fund, which together own $5 billion in Amazon stock (0.3% of its market value), urge other public pension systems to vote against two of Amazon’s 11 board members. another one-year term at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on May 26.
The targets are Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, and Judith McGrath, former president and CEO of MTV Networks Entertainment Group, a unit of Viacom. They have served on Amazon’s board of directors since 2016 and 2014, respectively. Amazon declined to comment and the two directors could not be reached.
New York’s proxy campaign recalls last year’s successful effort to remove three directors from Exxon Mobil’s board. Led by the New York State Common, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the proxy campaign aimed to give climate activists a voice on the oil giant’s board.
Huttenlocher and McGrath are members of Amazon’s Board of Directors’ Leadership Development and Compensation Committee. A letter from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversee city and state plans, cited the committee’s lack of response to requests since 2020 for a meeting on the concerns of officials.
Auditors criticized what they called Amazon’s “high injury rate compared to its peers, unsustainable turnover and labor rights violations, and high executive compensation as evidence of priorities.” misplaced by the committee”.
In the past, Amazon has denied not caring about worker safety. It released a report on the $300 million it spent last year to improve safety and other steps it took to improve conditions for its workers.
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Tags: Amazon, Brad Lander, CalPERS, CalSTRS, Daniel Huttenlocher, Exxon Mobil, Judith McGrath, New York State Common Retirement Fund, proxy fight, Thomas DiNapoli, dangerous working conditions