New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller Brad Lander announced today that they have done so called Calls on Netflix shareholders to support their joint proposal, which calls on the streaming service to uphold its employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Their shareholder proposal will be voted on at the Company’s annual general meeting on June 1, 2023.
“Workers have fundamental rights, including the right to join a union and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions.” DiNapoli called. “While Netflix claims it is now a leader in the highly unionized entertainment industry, the company lags behind when it comes to ensuring the rights of its employees. Failure to respect workers’ rights can harm the company and its investors.”
“Netflix can and must improve its commitment to upholding workers’ rights if it is to remain a leader in entertainment. They have so far failed to adopt a clear policy on freedom of association and collective bargaining and to disclose, exposing them to human capital management risks that could harm long-term shareholder value. As investors, we are concerned when a portfolio company’s behavior conflicts with the fair treatment of its workforce,” he said New York auditor Brad Lander.
The shareholder proposal at Netflix is asking the board to “adopt and publicly announce a policy on their commitment to respect their employees’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.” It is noted that employee dissatisfaction with management has led to work stoppages and calls for a culture change. Many of the working conditions at the heart of the Writers Guild of America strike reflect issues that could be adequately addressed through a comprehensive human rights policy.
Netflix should have a publicly disclosed policy that allows investors to assess whether the company adequately considers labor risks and their potential impact on shareholder value.
DiNapoli and Lander’s Netflix proposal was part of a broader proposal Initiative 2023 to encourage companies to adopt better labor rights policies and practices. This included the joint filing of shareholder motions at CVS Pharmacy Inc., DoorDash Inc. and Walmart Inc. and separately at Gannett Co. Shareholders are expected to vote on them Suggestion at the CVS Annual Meeting on May 18, 2023.
Link to the waiver requesting Netflix shareholders to support their proposal: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/810265/000121465923006341/j52231px14a6g.htm
About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is one of the largest public pension funds in the United States. The fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The fund has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the country.