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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  • John Grisley

    They are LATE ON THE POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS ISSUE, they should have been protesting OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATE SUPREME COURT, as the now, conservative majority court, was approving the law to allow big corps to directly make political contributions. As well, the 99% need to join the 25% who are educated enough to know that by time a millionaire gets his dividends and carried interest, the dollar has already been TAXED TWICE, and the lower tax the 1% pay, is actually a 3rd tax. HOW MANY TIME DO YOU WANT A DOLLAR TO BE TAXED? Also joint the 25% who are trying to created businesses and corporations of their own; therefore, they themselves can become apart of the 1% and when they get there, THEY CAN PAY ALL THE TAXES THEY WANT, DO NOT TRY TO GET A COMPETITIVE EDGE BY INFLUENCING LEGISLATION THAT DIRECTLY EFFECTS THEIR BUSINESS AND BOTTOME LINE PROFIT MARGIN, AND THEY CAN EMPLOY AS MANY OF THE 99% AS THEY WANT!