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Amazon Shareholder Proposals Fail to Pass at Annual Meeting

People protested outside Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday while inside, shareholders passed proposals reelecting ten directors to its board and ratifying Ernst & Young LLP as its independent auditors.

However, shareholder proposals failed to pass, according to Amazon spokesperson Ty Rogers. The four proposals dealt with shareholder proxy access; disclosure about Amazon’s political contributions; and publication of a sustainability report and a human rights risk assessment. The latter proposal was prompted by concern over working conditions at Amazon and at companies in its supply chain. The Amazon board had recommended shareholders vote against the four proposals.

Geekwire covered the protests complete with photos, estimating that over 100 protesters called on executives to address issues including affordable housing and workers’ rights.

Seattle Weekly counted three separate protests, one dealing with minority hiring.

The Seattle Times reported on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presence at Amazon’s annual meeting where he was invited to speak. “Jackson asked Amazon to detail the diversity data of its workforce, to commit to actively searching for blacks, Latinos and women for its board, and to help improve science and technology education in minority communities,” the newspaper wrote.

The Times also covered Jeff Bezos’s presentation where he described the four characteristics of great businesses and identified three such businesses at Amazon: “the Amazon Marketplace, where third-parties sell products; Amazon Prime, the $99 a year program that offers two-day shipping at no extra cost; and Amazon Web Services, which rents computing power and storage to businesses.”

Bezos told shareholders, “we will be working hard to find a fourth.”

Amazon’s Rogers told EcommerceBytes he could not provide a transcript of the CEO’s talk, but said it followed the general outline of the shareholder letter, which is published on the Amazon investor relations website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.