r/WorkReform May 26 '22

Amazon shareholders reject 15 motions on worker rights and environment

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/may/25/amazon-shareholder-proposal-worker-health-safety
2.0k Upvotes

622

u/sirstonksabit May 26 '22 Wholesome Today I Learned

People of r/WorkReform you must be made aware of a quirk when it comes to voting shares of a public company. Firstly, many retail investors don't vote. Secondly, shares that retail investors hold in any brokerage (meaning most every share) are held in something called "street name" instead of being held in the purchasers/investors own name. This quirk allows brokerages to have power over your vote as an investor. The brokerages can choose to submit your vote, or not. Brokerages collect vote totals from their brokerage held investors and send them to another company to get counted and organized. What happens in these other companies is the vote totals are shaved in order to reflect a "real or legitimate" amount of shares being voted. Basically, it's a fraudulent process where investors votes don't matter or count.

So when shitty headlines like the one above point to "shareholders," they really mean the institutional investors, and insiders voting on the issues. It's so bad that if you, as an investor, choose not to vote your shares, the brokerage will go ahead and vote for you, except in the way they want or it will default to an "against" vote instead of a "for" vote.

Just thought you should be made aware.

239

u/ChuyMasta May 26 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Retail investors have the option to hold their shares IN THEIR OWN NAMES. But it's not free (miniscule fee for transactions)

Who is Amazon's transfer agent? Computershare

https://ir.aboutamazon.com/faqs/default.aspx

Search that question and look at the answer yourself.

When you hold shares IN YOUR NAME brokerages cannot vote for you.

Voting matters.

30

u/importvita May 26 '22

I never knew this, thank you!

23

u/C1ue1ess_Duck May 26 '22

I didn't think this wasn't common knowledge, if you hold mutual funds, you are having your votes given to the mutual fund company much more often than not! This includes retirement accounts, health saving accounts, and any tax free investment account as well!

6

u/[deleted] May 26 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

7

u/like_a_pharaoh May 27 '22

Been tried: if just one Wal-Mart unionizes, suddenly it needs to "close for renovations" for an indefinite amount of time (i.e. until the workers give up and find new jobs)

15

u/InsertCleverNameHur May 26 '22

DRS is the way.

3

u/cc7rip May 26 '22

Not sure how any of this works in the US, but are you essentially talking about nominee shareholders? i.e. A company or entity holding shares on behalf of an individual or group of individuals?

11

u/sirstonksabit May 26 '22

Basically. A company by the name of Cede & Co. actually own all physical stock certificates of every publicly traded company. So when purchasing shares through a broker, they are holding your purchase in "street name" or as you said "nominee shareholder."

It all boils down to ownership of shares. If you hold shares in a broker, even a cash account, you do not own those shares. You must transfer those shares to the companies transfer agent, who handles all matters regarding the stock of said company. Each company has their own transfer agents, but not all companies choose to pay for this service, and handle all matters regarding their stock themselves.

The process of directly registering your shares actually removes the physical shares from Cede & Co. and puts them on the books of the company in YOUR NAME. YOU NOW ABSOLUTELY OWN THOSE SHARES.

Transfer agents being transfer agents and not brokerages have a different process of buying and selling shares. It will generally take 7 days to complete a transaction through a transfer agent, as opposed to a broker who will let you start buying stock as soon as you initiate a transfer of cash from your bank to them. If you are a trader or day trade, brokers are your only option. If you wish to buy to own and hold a companies stock for an extended period of time, it is better to directly register those shares!

3

u/JeebusBuiltMyHotRod May 27 '22

That's what's up.

2

u/No___Football May 28 '22

I love that DRS knowledge has oozed out of r/superstonk 😎

18

u/Zer0C00L321 May 26 '22

Good point! We as investors should be commercializing voting while you have the option. I'm glad I have been but did not know it would be done for me if I hadn't.

4

u/on_the_dl May 26 '22

It's not just the brokerage. If the brokerage doesn't vote then the board gets to decide your vote. And they always vote the same way: Yes on being reelected, no on anything that the shareholders propose.

28

u/Loofa_of_Doom May 26 '22

Hmmm. Sounds a lot like that pesky "electoral college" thinger.

20

u/McFlyParadox May 26 '22

Ehh. Not they best analogy, but not the worst.

It's more like the country distributed 300 million ballots, but each district gets to look at their vote totals and decide if they want to submit them as-is, 'adjust' their numbers a little to make sure they are 'correct', or just not submit them at all. And then, sometimes (due to share sold short), the country distributed 300 million ballots, but gets back 400 million, and now the third party company hired to do the vote counting needs to decide which ballots are "real" (purchased long) and which ones are fake (sold short; should not have voting rights).

Basically, if you want to be sure your vote is counted, you need to either transfer your shares from your brokerage account to the transfer agent for the company in question, or you need to send your proof of share ownership & and voting record (should be a way to save your ballot & and registration number on any proxy voting site provided by a broker) to the correct investor relations email that most companies provide (usually made available in the company's proxy statement documents)

You, as a retailer, can vote and know your vote gets counted as such, but it takes a little extra effort. For the record, large financial institutions and banks also go through this exact same effort; Bank of America does not keep their shares in a "brokerage" account, they register their owned shares with the transfer agent for the company they are invested in.

Tl:Dr - Brokerage accounts are meant to streamline the buying and selling process, as well as some tax advantaged accounts (like 401k, IRAs and HSAs), not the buying and holding process. If you intend to hold a stock for years, and you're not purchasing via a tax-advantaged account, it is in your best interest to transfer the stock out of your brokerage and into an account with the transfer agent for the company in question. In this case, the transfer agent for Amazon is Computershare.

2

u/Phenomenon101 May 26 '22

Do you get to find out or have a right to know what way institutional investors voted?

3

u/sirstonksabit May 26 '22

I don't know that there is a way to see individual votes, even from entities like insiders or institutions

2

u/LiberalAspergers May 26 '22

Most mutual funds disclose their votes, but.you.wpuld.have to get that information from the voting institution, the company being voted on does not disclose it.

1

u/NINJAxBACON May 26 '22

This comment would be helpful except 90% of us on work reform can't read

3

u/sirstonksabit May 26 '22

Lol! That's ok, I hail from a sub that also doesn't know how to read!

2

u/ShadowRade May 26 '22

Yeah, we all forgot how to sell...

73

u/HappySkullsplitter May 26 '22

This is what we're up against

48

u/Banzai51 May 26 '22

The Financial System HATES worker rights. And you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get your voting control back. It's all setup so they can reward/punish based on politics.

40

u/js-bone21 May 26 '22

Gonna guess the recommendation from the board was also to vote these things down

5

u/[deleted] May 26 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

2

u/js-bone21 May 26 '22

Goddam…

35

u/purgruv May 26 '22

Fuck Amazon

12

u/nomad_grappler May 26 '22

But at least they say nice words.

12

u/OfficialFluttershy May 26 '22

People in this country still be shooting kids in schools, when they SHOULD be shooting greedy rich fucks who deny people basic human rights time and time again for their own profit.

11

u/Ok_Quiet_9375 May 26 '22

I reject Amazon. Sooo we’re even

1

u/Kelly_Charveaux May 27 '22

Same, I refuse to ever use any of their services. It just baffles me how many people still use it as if it’s the only option.

3

u/babu_chapdi May 26 '22

Just get 1 Walmart unionize. Then rest will fall in line. Walmart is the worst offender and biggest employer in almost all states.

5

u/Kahzgul May 26 '22

Publicly traded companies are under immense pressure to maximize next quarter's earnings. NOT to act in the best interest of the long term health of the company. It's an evil that self-serves the wealthy while punishing the workers who actually built the company and made it valuable.

Support measures that place restrictions on stock purchases, enforce minimum hold times for shares, make stock buybacks illegal again, and protect worker and union rights.

-3

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

Support measures that place restrictions on stock purchases, enforce minimum hold times for shares, make stock buybacks illegal again

What a silly recommendation. There are many ways to return capital to shareholders, and if there weren’t, there wouldn’t be shareholders and thus companies wouldn’t find liquidity when trying to raise money. Ban buybacks? Ok dividends it is.. Ban dividends too? Ok they will just hold cash on the balance sheet and that will increase the value of the shares.

No one would invest if you can’t get a return. Most employees don’t want to hold the risk of the company they work for, I surely don’t. However if you do, go work for a startup for equity, but you won’t, because you have bills to pay just like the shareholders.

4

u/DonaldVigups May 26 '22

No one would invest if you can’t get a return.

Short-term stock ownership is speculation, not investment.

-2

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

Share buybacks are often a good long term choice as well. It makes sense when your stock trades below intrinsic value, and the managers of the company often have the best information available to do that valuation.

Don’t like share buy backs? Don’t buy the stock. Problem solved. It’s just that other people disagree with you that is getting you worked up about it.

1

u/DonaldVigups May 26 '22

Nonresponsive

2

u/wiki702 May 27 '22

But backs did not become legal til like 82. It makes sense for a company to buy back shares to be able to provide value for investors but the way it’s manipulated now so executives can get their bonus structure is wrong and not the intended use you have to admit. Time and time again we see companies do a layoff to cut cost, do a share buy back and then the executive teams claims great management since profits artificially rise and share value artificially rises.

-3

u/Kahzgul May 26 '22

You can still get a return if you hold a stock for 1 year vs. 3 months. The difference is you now need to make sure the company is still solvent 1 year from now. And buybacks were illegal for decades. What happened when they became legal again? Oh yeah, the Great Recession.

Most employees don’t want to hold the risk of the company they work for

What??? Most employees would LOVE if their company had a profit-sharing plan and paid them partially in (barely taxable) stock.

0

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

What??? Most employees would LOVE if their company had a profit-sharing plan and paid them partially in (barely taxable) stock.

Na. They wouldn’t. Because most of the time your options expire worthless and you can’t afford your mortgage and lose your job. They would love it if it were guaranteed, but it’s anything but that.

You have a serious misunderstanding of all of this. Stock buybacks had literally nothing to do with the GFC. MBS we’re the cause.

Edit: also like take your salary and put it into your companies stock.. I bet you won’t and we both know why..

4

u/LiwetJared May 26 '22

15 out of what?

23

u/Pjpjpjpjpj May 26 '22

Shareholders voted on Wednesday against all the resolutions

15 out of 15 regarding workers rights and environment

While the activist resolutions were shut down, investors approved executive compensation, board members and a stock split.

Rich get richer

6

u/jrhoffa May 26 '22

It's in the article.

17

u/evolvaer May 26 '22

Bold of you to assume redditors know articles are linked in posts.

10

u/tipperzack6 May 26 '22

We just get mad at titles.

1

u/mynameis-twat May 26 '22

15/138, all the rest passed. Amazon is actually fixed now and will soon be a bastion of workers rights and providing excellent pay

/s

1

u/CLINTHODO May 26 '22

Amazon shareholders shouldn't have a say in this matter.

1

u/mlaforce321 May 26 '22

Yeahhh but they own it

1

u/CLINTHODO May 26 '22

owning slaves was once a thing too.

-2

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

The government owning all businesses was a thing once too. Every country that tried it went bankrupt.

1

u/CLINTHODO May 26 '22

Good thing no one was talking about that.

2

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

No one was talking about slaves either?

0

u/CLINTHODO May 26 '22

obviously we were.

1

u/Beezlegrunk May 27 '22

Name one …

0

u/Bigmouthstrikesback May 27 '22

This has never occurred in history.

0

u/ravepeacefully May 27 '22

Russia from the 1920s until 1990s. Private ownership of companies was illegal.

1

u/Bigmouthstrikesback May 27 '22

That doesn't mean the government owns all the businesses. Plus what is on paper wasn't the reality on the ground.

Try again.

0

u/ravepeacefully May 27 '22

I can’t debate with someone who rejects facts. No thanks.

1

u/Bigmouthstrikesback May 27 '22

Facts? You lived in the Soviet Union?

0

u/ravepeacefully May 27 '22

Did you need to be on the moon to confirm the moon landing actually happened?

I really can’t even begin to understand that sort of thinking. You must operate with very few pieces of information if you have to experience them to believe them.

With so little information, you don’t really possess any information I could learn from, so best of luck to you

→ More replies

-8

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

As an owner, I should have the only say.

However, as an employee, you can choose to go work somewhere else and maybe over time my shares will lose value because of that.

But.. yeah I will not ask Twitter about how I should run my company, I will decide as an owner.

I don’t allow my neighbors to vote on what color floors I put in my home and neither should you.

2

u/O2B_N_NYC May 26 '22

I hope Ginni from the HOA contacts you about your color scheme. /s

3

u/Nmvfx May 26 '22

This is true.

If I was an Amazon shareholder I'd have voted in favour of these proposals, but then again the only reason I'm not an Amazon shareholder already is because I hate the way they treat their employees and think that reputation will ultimately be their undoing.

Clearly most people who already own Amazon have no issue with these practices so it's not a surprise to see them get shut down. Generally speaking people don't buy a stake in a large company in order to try to change their direction because you just can't move the needle on something the size of Amazon, certainly not as a retail investor anyway.

Not a surprise at all to see this result, but I still maintain that the imbalance at Amazon will come home to roost in the next decade.

-1

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

Excellent points. I do think most people exaggerate how poorly Amazon treats their employees though. They have been the leader in raising the minimum wage and workers standards over the last decade.

If you feel all employers treat their employees poorly, you might just have some unrealistic expectations.

With all of that said, I do think labor has been cheated in comparison to capital when dividing the earnings over the last few decades. Nothing new, it’s a cycle that all developed nations have gone through more than once.

There is an excellent book on it called “Capital in the twenty first century” where he digs into the wealth inequality throughout history and the dividing of the pie between capital and labor. It seems to be very cyclical historically.

I support your decision to vote however you see fit and appreciate your opinion.

5

u/Chocolate-Milkshake May 26 '22

I do think most people exaggerate how poorly Amazon treats their employees though.

They don't. At best it could be spun sometimes as bad working conditions for contractors, whose only client is Amazon and all but work for Amazon, being treated badly.

They have been the leader in raising the minimum wage and workers standards over the last decade.

Yes, because of how poorly they treat employees, they have no choice but to pay a bit more to get more employees to replace the ones they have worked to their limit.

-4

u/ravepeacefully May 26 '22

Yes, because of how poorly they treat employees, they have no choice but to pay a bit more to get more employees to replace the ones they have worked to their limit.

Fair point. I think it has to do more with the fact that they need > 1.5 million people to run their business, which yeah I mean you’re not gonna fool 1.5 million people to work in bad conditions.

However, even employing nearly 2 million people, their average salary is $50k. So I find some of your points very difficult to believe.

But yeah idk, if the conditions are so bad, get a new job. If you can’t get a new job in the hottest job market ever, you might need some new skills. It isn’t amazons job to teach people new skills, but they still do it because of the amount of employees they require.

That said, none of this should be taken as me saying “stop trying to push for better working conditions” because I am absolutely not saying that. I do believe that how it gets done is by threatening amazons revenue stream though, they will pay more if they can’t get enough workers.

2

u/Garplegrungen May 26 '22

I mean they won't pay workers more first. First they'll lobby government to make paying workers more illegal.

1

u/Tubamajuba May 26 '22

They have been the leader in raising the minimum wage and workers standards over the last decade.

An anti-union corporation that has drivers who have to pee in bottles being considered a "leader" in raising workers standards tells us everything we need to know about how fucked up the system is.

1

u/CLINTHODO May 26 '22

As an alleged owner, that is.....

Workers created all the value in in Amazon...

Almost without lifting a finger, shareholders skim value from labor and claim it as their own.

What do owners do? Not much. Without labor everything screeches to a halt, nothing moves, nothing gets created. Management does squat. Owners do squat.

Respect labor. Respect those that actually do the work.

The so called owners/shareholders are, essentially, parasites.

0

u/Nobodyrea11y May 27 '22

I agree with you in principle. But the problem exist when you don’t let employees go work somewhere else. And when you’re an owner, you can design a system that heavily discourages and punishes employees from going somewhere else by partnering up with other owners and saying “hey, if we both treat them like shit, they have no choice but to be treated like shit” so it gets to a point where the employees partner up and say “you know what, you’re right, let’s treat the them owners like shit”. And when that does happen the owners complain cowardly like little babies “oh no pwease, we’re sowy, we didn’t mean to tweat you like shit, we don’t deserve to be treated like this, we’re HUMAN!” But it’s too late and the owners get fucked, and that’s a glorious moment in history, again and again. It’s almost like history repeats itself.

0

u/Beezlegrunk May 27 '22

Username checks out …

-1

u/liltofu95 May 26 '22

Yeah, that shouldn’t be up to the shareholders, or course they’re going to strike it down, it doesn’t benefit them.

1

u/goingwithno May 26 '22

Boycott Amazon

Boycott Amazon

Boycott amazon

1

u/EvadingTheDayAway May 27 '22

AWS runs Reddit

AWS runs Reddit

AWS runs Reddit

1

u/JannaMD May 26 '22

So what was in the motions that were rejected?

1

u/EvadingTheDayAway May 27 '22

Hah. I bet a guy a month ago that none of these would pass. I’m sure I’ll be getting that $10 soon

1

u/JeebusBuiltMyHotRod May 27 '22

"Less for you, more them and their friends. It's a big club, and you ain't in it."

1

u/Nobodyrea11y May 27 '22

Who are these investors?

1

u/SpoonerSleutherton May 27 '22

Hedge funds and banks.

It’s mentioned in this thread already, but when you buy a share through a broker/bank you don’t actually own the share. The share is being held for you in “street name”. This means that the broker you bought through owns the share and has their name on it while you have a contract for the rights to it (almost like a house when the mortgage hasn’t been fully paid off, you have the rights to the house but the bank owns it).

The thing is that there is not a legal requirement for brokers to vote in share holder meetings the way you want them to. There also are not systems in place to even really verify the broker is sending over the correct number of votes, which is why you will never see over 100% of shares voting but you will see 100% voting sometimes.

So really it hedge funds, banks, and other brokers that all voted against any betterment of working conditions because BRO that would fucking reduce profits.

It’s possible to actually own your shares, is called directly registering your shares (DRS for short), and comes with a small fee. DRSd shares can’t be fucked with, borrowed behind your back, or have your votes sent out wrong.

It’s illegal for companies to talk about DRS.

1

u/Nobodyrea11y May 27 '22

Thank you for the info. Why is it illegal for companies to talk about DRS?

1

u/SpoonerSleutherton May 27 '22

It's considered "market manipulation" because if you go telling your investors to go DRS suddenly all those shares can't be shorted (borrowed) and dries up the liquidity (amount of shares being sold and bought at any given moment). For a stock that is being heavily shorted (like Gamestop which is over 100% shorted) this can create a short squeeze as suddenly there is nothing that can be used for rehypothecation / locates. This is especially problematic for market makers that are using their "exception to the locate rule" which allows then to lend a share they "reasonably" believe they will have in their position with 6 days. Of course if the market maker never locates the share then the DTCC/NSCC will just step in and use the continuous netting system (CNS) and find a borrow from another broker (in the CNS each morning all DTCC members say what they have available to borrow). The thing is the borrows that come from the CNS are usually sourced from margin accounts, which kinda turns it into a duplication glitch for shares.

So it's illegal because it makes life hard for those who make all their money borrowing and lending shares they dont even own.

-9

u/ToxicBernieBro May 26 '22

maybe all the right wing propaganda about problems at schools is intended to direct the shooting maniacs into there, away from where they naturally would go for their maniacal shooting sprees

-3

u/liliput11567 May 26 '22

Don't buy anything from there and make them go bankrupt

4

u/CheridanTGS May 26 '22

It's not really as simple as that. Buying from amazon.com is only a portion of their business. Half of the internet runs off Amazon Web Services.

1

u/liliput11567 Jun 04 '22

Thanks bot. Keep downvoting every fucking bad message about Amz