Social Protests Mark Tumultuous Spring for Shareholder Meetings


 

Members of the "99 Percent" movement plan to make their voices heard on May 8 outside 3M’s shareholder meeting, the latest headline-grabbing event in what's already been an explosive year for corporate shareholder meetings.

About 100 protesters are expected to turn out at the meeting in St. Paul, Minn., to support a shareholder proposal that would prohibit 3M from directly contributing to election campaigns, according to Reuters.

"We’ll be calling on the CEO and 3M shareholders to 'STICK TO BUSINESS! and get their corporate money out of our democracy," a movement organizer wrote on the 99 Percent site.

This spring the 99 Percent movement has protested the influence of money in politics, low corporate taxes and rising home foreclosures. Last month, thousands of protesters converged outside Wells Fargo & Co.'s annual meeting, and protesters interrupted a speech by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt in Detroit in late April, yelling "pay your fair share," before being escorted out of the meeting of automotive engineers.

Protesters at 3M's meeting plan to take a subdued tone, picketing outside and asking questions inside. A similarly large turnout is expected at the Bank of America meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on May 9, according to Reuters.

Communicators at organizations that make large contributions to election campaigns should be on guard—this trend of activism is not likely to slow down. Expect uninvited guests at your annual shareholder meeting.

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg


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