Shareholders: Your Vote DOES NOT COUNT
It’s becoming more and more common for investors to purchase stocks in controversial corporations so they can have a voice in those companies’ decisions. (And make a profit at the same time.) This is a good thing, right?
Well, in theory anyway.
Just when you think you've heard every corporate sleaze story, along comes another one.
Take Massey Energy (please!). They had a recent shareholder vote on whether the company should set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There were 25.1 million votes in favor, and 22.2 million votes against. All right! It passed! Stockholders (i.e. the owners) of one of the world’s most cutthroat companies have voted to change that company’s business practices. The system worked!
Well, except for one minor teensy little detail. There were 20.9 million Massey shareholders who didn’t vote. And those non-votes counted. 20.9 million abstainers, plus 22.2 million No votes — hee hee hee, those 25.1 million Yes votes were grossly outnumbered. You lose! Tough luck, treehuggers. Nice try though.
Plum Creek — a Seattle-based timber company — is another company that uses this same “counting” method for tallying shareholder votes.
A more honest CEO said: “The process is tilted in favor of management, yet they still feel the need to lean with their elbow on the scale — it's unbecoming.”
Unbecoming; yup, that it is. I would’ve picked a little harsher term.
Or maybe we could switch to this counting method in political elections. This November, the tens of millions of Americans who don’t vote, PLUS everyone who votes in favor of the Democratic incumbent, will be added up against the Republican votes.
Come to think of it…