New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city’s pension funds today submitted shareholder proposals to both companies, calling for an end to employment practices like mandatory arbitration and non-disclosure agreements.
“When big corporations force their workers to sign away basic rights, investors have to fight back. These fine print agreements have damaging consequences for workers, investors, and the public,” Stringer said in a statement, adding, “As investors, these exploitative practices aren’t just wrong on a human level, they have a wide impact on our broader economy.”
CBS and Alphabet each have confronted damaging sexual harassment allegations in recent months, and criticisms of hostile work environments. Google’s employees staged a mass walkout following revelations that the company extended golden parachutes to executives accused of misconduct. CBS, meanwhile, has been reeling from seemingly endless allegations concerning its former CEO, Les Moonves, and executives at 60 Minutes.
The shareholder proposal calls for an end to the mandatory arbitration of employment-related claims, non-compete agreements with employees, agreements with other companies not to recruit each other’s employees, and involuntary non-disclosure agreements – which have been pinpointed as drivers behind corporate cover-up of harassment and tools used to retaliate against whistleblowers.
The fund holds more than 367,800 shares in Alphabet, valued over $388 million; and some 533,500 shares, valued at over $25.6 million, at CBS.