Client Alert

Public Company Update: Corporate America Beware: Labor Unions, Social Activists, and Universal Proxy Cards

November 27, 2023

By Sean Donahue,Eduardo Gallardo,& Ankush Dhupar

On November 21, 2023, a coalition of labor unions led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), announced that it has nominated three director candidates for election to the Board of Directors of Starbucks at the 2024 annual meeting of shareholders. The coalition, which beneficially owns less than 0.00002% of the company’s outstanding shares, is effectively using the campaign as a means to ratchet up its efforts to unionize Starbucks’ workforce. The campaign is the logical consequence of the universal proxy rules implemented by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year. As expected, such rules have opened the gates for social activists like labor unions to hijack the annual shareholder meeting process as a very public platform to pressure corporate management and advance their agendas.

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