May 1, 2024

Statement: 2024 PepsiCo shareholders’ meeting

The following statement was delivered by Caleen Carter-Patton, recording secretary of the Teamsters Local 727 in Chicago, at the annual PepsiCo shareholders’ meeting. Caleen represents PepsiCo workers in the Chicago area.


Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity to introduce Item 12 on behalf of Harrington Investments, regarding transparency on global public policy and political influence. My name is Caleen Carter-Patton, and I am the Recording Secretary of Teamsters Local 727 in Chicago, Illinois. I represent workers at PepsiCo in the greater Chicago area.

PepsiCo operates in nearly 200 countries and territories, with approximately 290,000 global employees. In 2020, 42 percent of operating profits came from outside the United States. While PepsiCo discloses fragmentary information relating to United States political activities, spending to influence and engage on public policy outside the United States is far more poorly disclosed. PepsiCo scores poorly regarding disclosures of international corporate political activities, according to multiple transparency indices. Among its activities where reporting to investors is deeply lacking: its engagement in global policy initiatives to address the corporation’s disturbing plastic waste stream, contribution to diet-related disease, and impact on water security. And this is not even to mention activities that undermine the rights of its employees.

This is why shareholders’ request PepsiCo annually issue a report fully disclosing company expenditures on political activities also outside of the United States.

The Teamsters stand with PepsiCo workers and shareholders in this effort, and especially with the workers of the Global South, based on our local union’s experiences of PepsiCo’s political activity here, in the U.S.

If our experience is anything to go by, greater transparency of PepsiCo’s global political activities will reveal the company’s claims around good citizenship and workers’ rights to be little more than a sugar coating of reality.

Over the past four years, for instance, PepsiCo has paid at least $2.5m in dues to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a trade group that spends its lobbying war chest on efforts to undercut workers’ rights, not only in the U.S. but in other parts of the world too.

As Teamsters at PepsiCo are forced to authorize a strike vote and consider risking their families’ financial security to ensure fair compensation, the Chamber, with PepsiCo’s backing, is vigorously opposing the Pro Act. Another example of the company’s political activities at home. If passed, the legislation would protect workers from retaliation for exercising their right to withhold their labor, and close loopholes that companies use to intimidate workers from fighting for fair wages, and even joining a union. Similarly, from the issue of plastics, to public health, to palm oil, the company has had a breadth of political activities across the globe.

As transparency is the first step toward greater accountability, we urge shareholders to support PepsiCo workers here at home and in the Global South by voting for this resolution for greater global political transparency. Thank you.


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