- Amazon’s annual shareholder’s meeting took place on Wednesday.
- Amazon didn’t livestream it or allow any cameras inside, but there was still a lot of media interest, thanks to a number of controversial shareholder proposals around matters like climate change – all 11 proposals were voted down, as it almost always the case.
- The meeting attracted a lot of protesters, who criticised the company for its treatment of workers and environmental issues.
- Some of the protestors took dramatic measures, like wearing poop emoji costumes, to stand out from the crowd.
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Amazon’s annual shareholder’s meeting took place on Wednesday in Seattle and the scene outside of the event is wild, to judge by tweets from reporters and other attendees.
Amazon is a controversial company: wildly successful for investors, beloved by consumers for its retail businesses and by big enterprises for its market-leading cloud platform. But as Amazon’s dominance grows, many of its business practices have come under scrutiny.
These include: how it treats its warehouse workers (it uses systems that automatically pick people to fire, complete with paperwork); how it pressures its delivery drivers including contractors; pay practices and working conditions of the pilot contractors who deliver its packages; its choice to employ non-union security worker contractors (a decision frowned upon by Rev. Jesse Jackson). It is renegotiating its contract with a company called Security Industry Specialists, which employs hundreds of contractor as security guards for Amazon.
Most importantly, numerous shareholder proposals were voted on at the annual meeting – proposals which Amazon fought. As is nearly always the case with shareholder resolutions that the board opposes, none of the 11 proposals on the table passed at this meeting, reports CNN Business reporter Lydia DePillis, though final vote counts have not been made public.
One shareholder proposal involved pressuring Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition software to government agencies. This proposal was put forward by Catholic nuns, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood. Amazon fought so hard to repress this measure, it even took legal measures to try and prevent it from reaching the ballot.
Another involves Amazon’s own employees, who are lobbying the company to do better with its environmental track record. In February, environmental watchdog group blasted Amazon (again) for “is only meeting 12 per cent of its renewable energy commitment.”
28 current and former employees filed the resolution in December, which asks Amazon to publicly commit to a zero-emission plan and make other business decisions to help the environment. Since then, more than 7,500 employees have signed an open letter in support of the resolution. Last week the nation’s two largest proxy advisory firms, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), came out in support of the resolution.
Here’s some photos of the scene at Amazon on Wednesday, as seen on Twitter:
Security contractors turned out in force to protest at the meeting. They not only dressed in poop emoji costumes, but they brought a live band with them.
— Monica Nickelsburg (@mnickelsburg) May 22, 2019
The ACLU is protesting Amazon’s facial recognition being sold to government agencies.
We're at @Amazon's shareholder meeting today urging shareholders to take action in response to the company's failure to address the civil rights impacts of its face surveillance technology.
Ironically, Amazon won't allow cameras into the meeting, so we've filmed a short preview: pic.twitter.com/tNN4pkK4tG
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 22, 2019
CNN Business reporter Lydia DePillis caught this protest by Amazon employees over climate change. “The signs are riffs on Amazon’s leadership principles,” Depillis notes.
Amazon employees here too with their climate change resolution. The signs are riffs on Amazon’s leadership principles. pic.twitter.com/c9QhEucmeq
— Lydia DePillis (@lydiadepillis) May 22, 2019
Twitter user Márcio Silva notes the pilots who are protesting for better pay, too.
— Márcio M. Silva (@marciojmsilva) May 22, 2019
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