More and more Americans are standing up to woke, leftwing corporations and the activist groups that are intent on controlling them. Last week, Coca-Cola shareholders banded together to vote down a proposal to boycott conservative-leaning states over recently passed protections for the unborn.
The proposal, filed by As You Sow, asked for a report detailing potential workforce risks or costs resulting from state abortion restrictions. The proposal noted research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that says those who can’t access abortion are three times more likely to leave the workforce. The proposal secured 13% of the preliminary vote, according to Bloomberg.
“Coke may not want to get involved in the politics of this topic, but the politics of this topic have gotten involved with Coca-Cola,” said Meredith Benton, a consultant from Whistle Stop Capital who works with As You Sow, when presenting the proposal at the meeting. Benton noted that Coca-Cola’s headquarters is in Georgia, where a new law bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Coca-Cola said in its proxy statement that its “robust risk management processes” are sufficient to address potential risks the proposal raises.” The company also said it has “comprehensive health benefits that provide for our employees’ needs, as opposed to what might be otherwise suggested in this proposal.”
Proxy advisory firm ISS recommended a vote against the proposal in advice sent earlier this month to Coca-Cola shareholders. ISS argued that the company could face legal or reputational risks if the company more explicitly details strategies for employees seeking abortion. This advice was a significant shift from a recommendation ISS gave for a similar proposal at Walmart last year, before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.
Jerry Bowyer explained how these investor actions work. He wrote, “The proposal came from investors, not from the company itself. Shareholders of publicly traded corporations have a right to put proposals up for a vote. This right is not well known by conservatives. Liberals, on the other hand, seem quite familiar with this instrument for the exercise of corporate power, which is why historically proposals from the left typically outnumber those from the right 20-to-1. But things are getting better. This year that number looks to be closer to 10-to-1.
But, unfortunately, we are in the phase of the battle where the left often sets the agenda and our duty is mainly to vote against their bad ideas. And among the worst of their bad ideas this year is a spate of proposals of various forms used to promote abortion under the banner of risk management. Typically, these shareholder resolutions that appear on proxies (the corporate governance equivalent of ballots in political elections) call upon companies to study the risk of whatever the activists disapprove of.
For example, the predictably left-wing group As You Sow asked Coca-Cola to issue a “Report on Risk Due to Restrictions on Reproductive Rights.” This report would include “potential risks or costs to the company caused by … state policies severely restricting reproductive rights.” Note that only alleged risks or costs were mentioned, not benefits or advantages. This is typical. These activists do not call for cost/benefit analysis, only cost. They have an agenda and it shows. Clearly, trade-offs are not permitted. Pro-life laws are presumed to be bad, and the report’s only job is to tell shareholders just how bad they are. Well, actually, that’s not the only job. The other job is to tell the world exactly what the company is going to do to fight these bad laws, that is “any strategies beyond litigation … that the company may deploy to minimize or mitigate these risks.” In other words, it’s assumed the companies will sue, but what else are they going to do?
As You Sow has some suggestions for them. The companies should share “any decisions regarding closure or expansion of operations affected by the restrictive laws, and any strategies such as public policy advocacy by the company, related political contributions policies … or educational strategies.” So, companies are steered towards punishing pro-life states by divestment, toward defunding pro-life politicians who would otherwise have been seen as helpful to the company’s interest, and by educating the public about the benefits of abortion and the harm caused when it is prevented.”
Since the overturning of Roe v Wade, abortion related proposals from leftwing, pro-choice shareholders have grown. Activists have thus far targeted 30 companies on the issue.
Liberal boycotts of conservative states have mostly come back to bite the boycotters. Life News said that the vote at Coca-Cola “came during the same week in which the City of San Francisco abandoned its boycott of pro-life states because the repercussions were so detrimental to the city.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors abandoned its boycott of pro-life states Tuesday after city leaders said the action backfired, costing the city money and creating additional red tape.
National Review reports the board voted 7-4 to repeal the boycott, which prohibited the city government from traveling to and doing business with 30 states that passed pro-life and other conservative policies.
‘It’s not achieving the goal we want to achieve,’ Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said. “It is making our government less efficient.’”
Taking on woke corporations has become a main wedge issue in the Republican presidential primary with Donald Trump and Nikki Haley have joined Democrats in attacking Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his standing up to Disney’s cultural agenda and domination of Florida’s politics.
“The former President sided with the woke Mickey Mouse to score points over the Florida Governor, noted The Wall Street Journal.
“Disney’s next move will be the announcement that no more money will be invested in Florida because of the Governor,” Mr. Trump wrote on Truth Social. “In fact, they could even announce a slow withdrawal or sale of certain properties, or the whole thing. Watch! That would be a killer. In the meantime, this is all so unnecessary, a political STUNT!”
Mr. DeSantis had a strong case last year when he championed legislation revoking special self-governing privileges that provided favorable tax and regulatory treatment for Disney World that other companies don’t enjoy. The move was a response to Disney’s unnecessary decision to attack Florida’s mislabeled “don’t say gay” law. As the Governor wrote in these pages in February, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act merely limits classroom instruction on sexuality and gender ideology in grades K-3 and requires that sex instruction in other grades be age-appropriate.
But as is his wont, Mr. Trump is trying to goad the Governor by siding with Mr. Iger. You’d think the former President would be critical of Disney’s woke turn, but his only abiding political conviction is personal advantage. He recently sided with plaintiff attorneys against Mr. DeSantis’s sensible tort reforms.”
Haley joined Trump, likely in a cynical ploy to be the former president’s vice president should he win the nomination in 2024. She “suggested on Wednesday that Disney could move to her home state, after the company sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for allegedly harming its business operations.
‘Hey @Disney, my home state will happily accept your 70,000+ jobs if you want to leave Florida,’ Haley tweeted. ‘We’ve got great weather, great people, and it’s always a great day in South Carolina!’
‘SC’s not woke, but we’re not sanctimonious about it either,’ she added in an apparent reference to former President Trump’s ‘DeSanctimonious’ nickname for the Florida governor.”
The latter comment seems to be evidence that like Trump, she’s losing her fastball, as well.
The former South Carolina governor has remained stuck at around five percent in Republican primary polling, trailing the two heavy favorites from Florida, DeSantis and Trump.