Shareholder meeting season is upon us!
I know, Public Citizen is known for watch-dogging corporations not investing in them.
But this is the time of year that the Corporate Reform Coalition (a coalition Public Citizen chairs) gears up to do some serious protesting outside of company meetings (and to ask tough questions inside the meetings too.)
Corporate cash in elections corrupts our public officials and thwarts important progressive reforms by spreading misinformation and drowning out the voices of average people. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has the power to change this. Until they act, we’ll be joining with shareholders who are fed-up with the lack of transparency and who are striking back with resolutions and rallies to pressure companies to do the right thing themselves. With those things in mind we picked a couple of big corporations this year that stood out as uniquely deserving of activist anger for their meddling in our democracy and our lives.
Last Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted an event called Shifting Tides: Worker Centers and a New Model of Representation, a live-streamed symposium to inform representatives from industry and government about how worker centers are empowering workers and communities, in an effort to coordinate weakening these centers’ ability to impact business practices. The event was put on by the Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative. Apparently, companies hiding behind the veil of the Chamber and other business associations like the Orwellian-named Workforce Fairness Institute are the only voices qualified to decide what constitutes freedom and fairness in the workplace.
Out of the four guest speakers at Wednesday’s event, only one could be traced back to a specific company, and only from earlier in his career: Joe Kefauver, formerly an executive of Walmart and Darden Restaurants – both targets of worker center campaigns that educate the public about poor treatment of employees. Kefauver now heads Parquet “How do We Challenge the Social Justice Narrative?” Public Affairs, which is tied to another anonymous corporate front group, Worker Center Watch, and is a member of ALEC. The other guests included George Washington University Professor Jarol Manheim, who has a long history of opinions that favor of employers over union interests and who recently wrote a report for the Chamber; Stefan J. Marculewicz, a corporate lawyer; and Brian E. Hayes, a former Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board who once made the unprecedented threat to quit the NLRB so that it wouldn’t be able to achieve quorum.
By Dalvin Butler
Billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch are looking to call the shots in the 2012 elections.
The Koch brothers are using their vast financial resources to push policies and candidates that favor the one percent, at the expense of the rest of us. If left unchecked, these schemes would be disastrous for our democracy.
The Koch strategy?
Diminish the rights of ordinary people and maximize those of corporations and the super-wealthy.