Tyson Foods held its 58th annual shareholder meeting virtually on Thursday and the meeting took just 20 minutes. As expected, all three shareholder proposals presented by various groups were voted down.
Board Chairman John Tyson called the business meeting to order and Amy Tu, the corporate secretary at Tyson Foods, said a majority of shares had been cast and there was a quorum in place. With a clear majority of the votes cast, Tu said the slate of 15 directors were approved to a 1-year term. Tyson did not release individual vote totals for the directors. The directors are Les Baledge, Gaudie Banister, Dean Banks, Mike Beebe, David Bronczek, Mikel Durham, Jonathan Mariner, Keven McNamara, Cheryl Miller, Jeff Schomberger, Robert Thurber, Barbara Tyson and John Tyson.
A clear majority of shareholders approved the ratification of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s registered accountant for this year, as well as reinstated the company’s 2000 stock incentive plan.
No shareholder proposal brought by Class A shareholders has ever passed at an annual meeting, unless the Tyson family and the Class B restricted shareholders also vote for it.
This unequal voting status was brought up as one of the proposals in this year’s meeting. A representative of the New York State Retirement Fund read the proposal saying without equal voting rights the majority of shareholders (Class A) cannot impact the oversight of the company or board actions. He said the 10:1 voting privilege that Class B shares have over Class A shares should be changed so that all Tyson investors have equal say in how the company is run.
Tyson Foods officials say the dual class system has benefited the company because of the family’s connection and commitment to its success. Tu said an overwhelming majority of shareholder votes were cast against this proposal.
A representative from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters also read their proposal for more transparency in Tyson Foods’ lobbying efforts. The group said while there is transparency at the federal level, Tyson also makes substantial contributions to trade groups who lobby on their behalf without disclosure. The group asks Tyson to follow the example of Mondelez and Kraft Heinz who do make this disclosure available to shareholders. The proposal on lobbying transparency was also defeated by a clear majority, according to Tu.
The proposal read by the American Baptist group asked Tyson for more due diligence on human rights alleging the meat giant put worker safety and health at risk during the pandemic with pay stipends going to those who showed up for work, while those who were sick were forced to rely on charity. The proposal was also defeated by a clear majority, according to Tu.