Amazon shareholders voted down 15 resolutions aimed at improving workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, pay fairness, and AWS transparency.
Instead, the shareholders voted in favor of a $212 million payout for CEO Andy Jassy for 2021.
The 15 activist and ethical investor-led resolutions called for reports on whether Amazon's retirement plans invest in sustainable businesses, the sustainability of Amazon's packaging, warehouse working conditions, whether Amazon's use of concealment clauses "in the context of harassment, discrimination and unlawful acts" causes risks for shareholders, whether the director nomination process can include hourly workers, whether freedom of association has been violated, gender pay disparities, racial pay disparities, diversity and equity audit, a breakdown of Amazon's lobbying spend, and whether Amazon's charitable spend is in line with shareholder interests.
As for Amazon Web Services, the resolutions ask whether AWS performs due diligence checks on cloud customers, to find whether they use to further human rights violations, and whether Amazon sells technologies to government agencies that violate privacy and civil rights.
"There is little evidence our Board of Directors, as part of its fiduciary oversight, has rigorously assessed risks to Amazon's financial performance, reputation and shareholder value associated with privacy and human rights threats to customers and stakeholders," one resolution said, noting that the AWS Rekognition facial recognition software had been proven to be worse at identifying black women than white men, and misgenders nonbinary people.
Amazon's Board of Directors recommended that investors vote against all 15 resolutions. For the Rekognition resolution, it said "Amazon's facial recognition technology can be used to solve complex problems that benefit society." This week, more than 40 human rights groups called on AWS to drop a contract with the US Department of Homeland Security to host a huge biometric database.
Shareholders have voted down similar proposals at each annual meeting. In 2019, shareholders voted against a climate change plan backed by nearly 8,000 employees. While an employee delivered a speech about the company's lack of climate effort, founder Jeff Bezos remained off stage.