AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, Washington, submitted shareholder proposals at 26 companies, including proposals to intensify efforts for board accountability for CEO pay; subject all executive pay packages approved by the compensation committee to an advisory shareholder vote; and add binding resolutions requiring a majority vote to elect directors.
The $750 million AFSCME fund submitted the compensation advisory vote proposal at US Bancorp, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Home Depot and Countrywide Financial.
"A shareholder vote on the compensation report is already required of companies in the United Kingdom and Australia," according to an AFSCME statement.
"The vote would be advisory," Richard C. Ferlauto, director-pension and benefit investment policy, said in an interview. "But it would send a strong signal to the compensation committee on whether it was following shareholder wishes."
Proposals for binding resolutions to amend company bylaws to require a majority vote for electing directors were submitted at United Technologies, Honeywell, Wells Fargo, and Qwest, and a non-binding proposal was filed at Morgan Stanley.
Proposals were submitted to Bank of New York, Citigroup and American Express that would allow a shareholder who nominates a short slate, or fewer than half, of board candidates to recoup solicitation costs if one or more of the candidates receive a certain threshold of the vote: 30% of the vote would provide partial reimbursement and 50%, full reimbursement.
Proposals to limit the amount of compensation that senior executives can receive in the event of a change in control or an involuntary termination were submitted at Emerson Electric and Raytheon.
Among other proposals, resolutions calling for the annual election of directors, instead of current staggered multiyear terms, were submitted at SunTrust Banks, Wachovia, Mellon Financial, Washington Mutual and 3M.