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Amazon seeks to block shareholder proposals on hate speech, diversity, workplace conditions and surveillance tech – IOTW Report


Amazon has asked federal regulators to block a number of shareholder proposals that strike at the heart of many recent criticisms of the Seattle-based commerce behemoth, including its stances on curbing hate speech and offensive content, diversity in hiring, workplace conditions for hourly warehouse employees and its surveillance technologies.

If granted, Amazon’s requests would mean shareholders would not have an opportunity to vote on those proposals at the company’s shareholder meeting this year, where they would likely be rejected regardless. Last year, none of a dozen shareholder proposals was approved.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declined to comment Wednesday on whether it intended to allow Amazon to drop the proposals from the shareholder meeting docket.

Companies often ask the SEC for permission to drop shareholder proposals they see as needless meddling into day-to-day business, and Amazon is no exception. Last year, it sought to exclude nine shareholder proposals before the annual meeting. The SEC sustained Amazon’s request in seven of those instances.

According to letters filed Tuesday with the SEC, Amazon is now requesting the regulator block shareholder proposals asking the company to report on its efforts to check hate speech across its many platforms, consider qualified women and nonwhite candidates for open positions in all roles, add an hourly associate to its board of directors and assess whether its products with surveillance capabilities violate human rights.

Amazon is also attempting to suppress a proposal from the New York State Common Retirement Fund that would require the company to conduct an audit on race and diversity, Bloomberg reported last week. read more

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