Shareholder Advocacy

Shareholder advocacy helps us promote socially responsible behavior at publicly-traded companies where USW-represented members work.

This advocacy gives us a voice at shareholder meetings where we can directly confront management on worker issues, share expertise in dialogues with the company and prepare questions for management. It also makes it possible to file shareholder resolutions and be a part of the company's formal business agenda.

In the oil industry, we've backed shareholder resolutions that push for increased disclosure on safety performance and lobbying spending  both issues are of paramount interest to investors as well as members.

Health and Safety Resolutions

Companies are less likely to be reckless if they're required to report the health and safety risks in their workplaces to their investors. We have filed health and safety resolutions at seven major oil refineries; many other social responsibility groups have used our language as well. Resolutions that receive a five percent vote are eligible to be refiled, votes over 20 percent are considered major successes.

Recently, Sunoco agreed to fully implement the reporting called for in the resolution we proposed. And other targeted companies measurably improved their safety reporting (Tier I safety events in their corporate sustainability reports and websites), including, in 2017, Marathon Petroleum who petitioned to exclude our proposed resolution, but was denied. Since then, they've voluntarily added Tier II safety events to their reports, expanded personal injury safety metrics and data, and enhanced disclosure of the board's oversight of safety.

Steelworkers outside the Marathon shareholders meeting in April 2015.

Lobbying Spending Resolutions

The USW has been the lead-filer since 2013 on a lobbying disclosure resolution at ExxonMobil that requests the company provide an annual report on lobbying at the local, state and federal levels. Last year, more than 27 perecnt of the company's shareholders voted in favor of this resolution because they agree they have the right to know if ExxonMobil is spending their money to influence legislation and/or change regulatory protection that may not be in their best interest.

It's known that ExxonMobil is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Chamber of Commerce, both organizations lobby for anti-worker legislation.

We have filed a similar resolution at Chevron which got a 29 percent vote last year.

USW ExxonMobil Council showing support for the shareholders resolution.