A dozen Danish pension funds with a collective 5 trillion Danish kroner ($739.1 billion) in assets are collaborating to turn up the pressure on Amazon.com about labor rights.
The 12 pension funds are Sampension, PenSam, PKA, AP Pension, AkademikerPension, Danica Pension, Danske Bank Asset Management, Nordea Investment Management, PBU, PensionDanmark, PFA and Velliv.
In 2022, Sampension, PenSam and PKA began asking Amazon to document that it respects its employees' right to organize in trade unions and negotiate wages and working conditions collectively. That effort has now expanded to include the nine other Danish institutional investors, said Jens Munch Holst, CEO of AkademikerPension, Gentofte, Denmark, with 115 billion Danish kroner in assets, in a statement.
"Many American companies unfortunately have major challenges when it comes to respecting the right for employees to organize themselves in trade unions and bargain collectively," he said. "It matches very poorly with our values as a labor market pension fund, and we have therefore for many years brought this up with the American companies we invest in."
The 12 Danish pension funds, who have collaborated on a shareholder proposal for Amazon's May 24 annual meeting, said in a joint statement that while they have individually tried to work with Amazon to safeguard employee rights, by joining forces "we will now put even more pressure on the company."
The statement noted an international movement "where more and more investors are putting pressure on Amazon about labor rights."
A 2022 shareholder proposal that Amazon prepare a report on how it ensures employees' rights to organize and bargain collectively received 38% support. The 2023 proposal asks Amazon's board to have an independent assessment of Amazon's approach to ensuring those rights.
A call to Amazon was not immediately returned. Its 2023 proxy statement addresses a similar shareholder proposal and recommends voting against it because the company has already prepared a report, and its policies and practices, along with regulatory oversight, make such an assessment unnecessary.
Other shareholder proposals to be considered at the May 24 annual meeting include disclosure of climate-related lobbying activity, DEI practices and a review of Amazon's 401(k) plan default option for climate risk.