May 23, 2019

STATEMENT: McDonald’s shareholders’ meeting, Alexa Kaczmarski

My name is Alexa Kaczmarski with Corporate Accountability, presenting Proposal 5 — Shareholder Right to Act by Written Consent sponsored by John Chevedden.

Shareholders request that the board of directors take necessary steps to permit written consent by the shareholders entitled to cast the minimum number of votes that would be necessary to authorize an action at a meeting. This common-sense proposal would more easily allow shareholders to raise important issues outside of the corporation’s normal meeting cycle. Issues that impact the reputation of McDonald’s, which in turn impacts McDonald’s bottom line. Right now over 100 companies allow shareholders to call special meetings and act by written consent. 

Last year, this proposal won 42 percent of support, and it’s especially important to have this right at McDonald’s, which has one of the weakest versions of a shareholder right to call a special meeting — requiring an enormous effort and budget from the pockets of shareholders.

Shareholders, workers, educators, parents, and health professionals have concerns that the corporation is not adequately addressing. Two days ago, workers filed 23 complaints on sexual harassment, workplace retaliation, and gender-based discrimination adding to the ten complaints filed last year. And earlier this year, the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union in the country, formally rejected McDonald’s predatory marketing to children through McTeacher’s Nights.

And, year after year, McDonald’s has taken steps to make this meeting less accessible in what can only be imagined as an attempt to prop up an alternate reality for shareholders and create distance from the protests and demands of thousands of workers and activists outside. The corporation just spent a quarter of a BILLION dollars opening its new headquarters in downtown Chicago — where up to 700 people, including shareholders, proxies, and guests, could fit in its conference room — and yet chose to host the annual meeting in an airport hotel hundreds of miles away. But McDonald’s can’t escape the overwhelming demands for change: workers are protesting outside the meeting right now with Fight for $15 activists, demanding McDonald’s take concrete steps to address sexual harassment in stores, stop attacks on workers’ right to a union, and start a dialogue with workers.

The corporation can’t avoid accountability on these and other issues forever. Reality is quite literally right outside of the door. But instead of listening to and addressing the concerns from its shareholders, workers, and the public directly at this meeting, McDonald’s continues to make it more difficult for people across the board to participate. Please vote yes: Shareholder Right to Act by Written Consent – Proposal 5.

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