29 May 2018 Investor Alert: Amazon Shareholders Urged to Reject Liberal Resolution Aimed at Applying Affirmative Action to Boardroom Selection Process
Free Enterprise Project Calls Service Employees International Union Board Diversity Shareholder Proposal “Racist and Sexist”
Investors in Amazon Asked to Reject Advice of Major Proxy Advisor, Institutional Shareholder Services
Seattle, WA / Washington, D.C. – Amazon shareholders are urged to reject a shareholder proposal designed to force the Internet shopping giant into applying affirmative action policies when selecting its board of directors. The Free Enterprise Project (FEP), the nation’s leading proponent of free-market investor activism, is critical of this proposal – pushed by organized labor and a leading liberal investor service – calling it part of a “liberal social engineering” agenda.
The FEP-opposed proposal calls for Amazon to ensure that future selection process for members of its board of directors include woman and minority candidates. Proposal #4, titled “Shareholder Proposal Regarding Diverse Candidates” on Amazon’s proxy statement, is co-sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and CtW Investment Group. It is scheduled to be voted on at Amazon’s annual meeting of shareholders in Seattle, Washington on May 30.
“It appears that the liberal obsession with bean-counting has extended beyond academia and is now trying to invade corporate boardrooms,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq. “In 2018, there has been a major push from liberal activists to demand greater racial and gender diversity on corporate boards. Investors should urge boards to select the most qualified individuals regardless of their sex or race. To do otherwise promotes sexism and racism.”
One of America’s largest proxy advisory firms, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), is supporting the SEIU’s proposal.
“To all investors looking for advice on how to vote their proxies, I would say this: If ISS is for it, you should be against it,” said Danhof. “To look at ISS’s overall agenda and recommendations for 2018 proxy votes is to look at a roadmap for liberal social engineering. Rather than what’s best for investors, ISS supports far-left proposals on race, gender and the environment. Such is the case with ISS’s full-throated support of the SEIU’s sexist and racist proposal being voted on at Amazon’s shareholder meeting. As such, we recommend investors unequivocally reject the proposal.”
“Diversity is the sum of an individual, not what they look like,” added Danhof. “It’s what they feel, think, believe and how they make decisions that should matter to Amazon’s board and investors. If anything, Amazon should pursue a degree of viewpoint diversity in its hiring and selection process. That’s a true beneficial diversity.”
FEP representatives have participated in 21 shareholder meetings so far in 2018.
Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.
FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
Danhof’s latest commentary, on the recent Walt Disney shareholder meeting where his actions resulted in Joy Behar’s public apology for suggesting Christianity is a mental illness, is available here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.