Tag Archives | AFSCME

Working-Class Shareholder: Review Essay

The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon by David Webber is sure to get readers thinking (purchase).

For far too long, labor and its progressive sympathizers have sought to transform the market from outside the market: from courts, from legislatures, from regulators, from street protests, from strikes. These tools are important. But ultimately, it is not possible to transform the market from the outside. It must be transformed from within. (xiv)

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Lobbying Disclosure Sought by Investors

lobbying disclosureLobbying disclosure is sought by shareholder resolutions filed at 50 companies by 66 institutional and individual investors.

Corporate lobbying disclosure remains a top shareholder proposal topic for 2016. At least 66 investors have filed proposals at 50 companies asking for lobbying reports that include federal and state lobbying payments, payments to trade associations used for lobbying, and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation. Political activity remains a top investor topic for the sixth consecutive year, with more than 90 proposals filed for 2016 that seek disclosure of either lobbying or political contributions. Continue Reading →

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Announcing Proxy Votes Improves Corporate Governance

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Shareowners Upholding Industry

Yesterday, I posted a recent letter to the editor of Pensions & Investments praising their editorial, Winning Over Proxy Voters, which argues that institutional investors have a fiduciary duty to announce their proxy votes in advance of annual meetings, if doing so is likely to influence voters. If institutional investors heed their call, it will speed the development of open client director voting (CDV) and more intelligent proxy votes.

As corporate power grows and the power of government falls, mechanisms to govern corporations become more important. As government power falls, their power to regulate corporations falls as well. Further, as the influence of corporations over governments increases (e.g. lobbying) the will of governments to regulate corporations also falls.  – CHR for Social Responsibility

Historically, most retail shareowners toss their proxies. During the first year under the “notice and access” method for Internet delivery of proxy materials, less than 6% made use of their proxy votes. Those that do vote own disproportionately more shares (about 25-30% of total retail shares). The voting rate hasn’t improved much, if at all. This contrasts with almost all institutional investors voting, since they have a fiduciary duty to do so. Unfortunately, it isn’t time/cost efficient to read through the entire proxy to vote a few retail shares intelligently. Continue Reading →

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CMG Shareowners Vote Down Pay & Supermajority Requirements

JMSelfie-CMG

McRitchie CMG Selfie

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Just a brief post to thank shareowners at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) for sending a strong message to the company’s board and management.  77% of shares were voted against the executive pay package and a majority supported our proposal to end supermajority voting requirements.

CalSTRS, Florida SBA, AFSCME, Calvert, Domini, Trillium, CBIS, CtW and many others joined to reject the non-binding say-on-pay measure and a proposed stock incentive plan. Both ISS and Glass Lewis recommended their clients vote against the package and the plan. Continue Reading →

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Goldman Sachs Group (GS): How I Voted – Proxy Score 31

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GS

Goldman Sachs Group $GS, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/16/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 5/11/2014.  I voted with management 31% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below.

Compensation

GS’s Summary Compensation Table shows CEO/Chair Lloyd C. Blankfein  Continue Reading →

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Union Pacific Corporation (UNP): How I Voted – Proxy Score 53

UNPUnion Pacific Corporation $UNP, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/15/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 5/9/2014.  I voted with management 53% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime)

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted. According to Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Grinstein, Yaniv (The Growth of Executive Pay), aggregate compensation by public companies to NEOs increased from 5 percent of earnings in 1993-1995 to about 10 percent in 2001-2003. Continue Reading →

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Gilead Sciences (GILD): How I Voted – Proxy Score 43

GileadMtgSignGilead Sciences $GILD is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/7/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 4/28/2014.  I voted with management 43% of the time.  View GILD’s Proxy Statement, which has a linked Table of Contents.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious CrimeI generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted.  Continue Reading →

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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): How I Voted – Proxy Score – 75

microsoftMicrosoft Corporation $MSFT is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/19/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked (there have been more since).  I voted with management 75% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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NextEra Energy, Inc. $NEE: Proxy Score 69

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/23/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 5/16/2013.  I voted with management 69% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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American Tower Corp (AMT): Proxy Score 100

American Tower Corp ($AMT) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/21/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 5/13/2013.  I voted with management 100% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) – Proxy Score 56

Union Pacific Corporation ($UNP) is one of the stocks in my portfolioTheir annual meeting is coming up on 5/16/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 5/13/2013.  I voted with management 56% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) – Proxy Score 38

Chipotle Mexican Grill ($CMG) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/17/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 5/13/2013.  I voted with management 38% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Marriott International Inc (MAR) – Proxy Score 93%

Marriott International Inc ($MAR) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/10/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked on 5/3/2013.  I voted with management 93% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Fluor Corp (FLR) – Proxy Score 58%

Fluor Corp ($FLR) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/2/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked on 4/26/2013. I also checked OTPP, which voted with management except they voted against amending the stock plan. I voted with management 58% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime)

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted. According to Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Grinstein, Yaniv (The Growth of Executive Pay), aggregate compensation by public companies to NEOs increased from 5 percent of earnings in 1993-1995 to about 10 percent in 2001-2003. Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Kimberly Clark (KMB) – Score 64%

Kimberly Clark ($KMB) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/2/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of five funds when I checked on 4/26/2013. I voted with management 64% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: American Express Company (AXP) – Proxy Score 59%

American Express Company ($AXP) is a stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of six funds when I checked on 4/22/2013.  I voted with management 59% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) – Proxy Score – 76%

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/25/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 4/22/2013.  I voted with management 76% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime)

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted. According to Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Grinstein, Yaniv (The Growth of Executive Pay), aggregate compensation by public companies to NEOs increased from 5 percent of earnings in 1993-1995 to about 10 percent in 2001-2003. Continue Reading →

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Apple: How I Voted, Proxy Score – 46

Apple ($AAPL) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 2/27/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of five funds when I checked on 2/19/2012.  They listed the votes of six funds voting as of yesterday. I voted with management 46% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. I voted, despite David Einhorn’s attempt to get an injunction to block the vote on “Proposal 2” in Apple’s proxy statement, which would abolish a system for issuing preferred stock at its discretion, facilitate majority voting in director elections and establish a par value for the company’s common stock. Continue Reading →

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Investors Press for Disclosure of Political Spending: Please Vote for Resolutions

Last week, investors announced  filing shareholder resolutions at more than 50 corporations as part of a 2013 proxy season initiative asking companies to annually report their federal and state lobbying, including any payments to trade associations used for lobbying as well as support for tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation.

Take Action: In his Citizens United dissent, Justice Stevens argued  the law should protect shareholders from funding speech they oppose. The majority, however, argued that Continue Reading →

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Walgreens (WAG): How I Voted – Proxy Score 24

Walgreens ($WAG) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 1/9/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I voted on 1/1/2012.  I voted with management only 24% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes)

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions where Continue Reading →

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Trillium Asset Management LLC, on behalf of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, along with the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan recently filed a shareholder proposal with Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C, $C) asking the company’s board of directors to explore a possible separation of one or more of its business units. Continue Reading →

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Union Pacific (UNP): How I Voted – Proxy Score 13

Union Pacific (UNP) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/10/2012. Voting ends 5/9 on Moxy Vote’s proxy voting platform, which listed nine “good causes,” but three were consolidations, when I checked and voted on 5/7. ProxyDemocracy.org had 1 fund voting.UNP scores 13 out of 100, since I voted with management on only 13% of the proxy. Continue Reading →

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Bogle Spinning in His Grave: Vanguard, a "Pay Enabler"

No, he isn’t dead but he might as well be as far as his ability to influence Vanguard, the giant mutual fund he founded. John Bogle wants funds to introduce resolutions at companies requiring a 75% shareowner vote in order to make political contributions. Yet, Vanguard has never introduced a single shareowner resolution anywhere that I know of. Bogle believes funds should vote in the interest of their shareowners, not their managers. We see no evidence of that at Vanguard. Corporations, he says, shouldn’t be controlled by their agents. Yet, Continue Reading →

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Berkshire Hathaway: How I Voted

Berkshire Hathaway is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up April 30 Again, I’m a little disappointed not to see more voting advice available at this late date. Where are Florida SBA, CalSTRS, CalPERS, and all those SRI funds? Only AFSCME is reporting so far on ProxyDemocracy.org but they provide comprehensive advice on each item. MoxyVote.com has seven advisors offering opinions but none cover all the items on the proxy. That’s frustrating.

AFSCME has done more to advance the cause of proxy access, the Magnata Carta for Continue Reading →

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