WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 /CNW/ - On the eve of Crown Holdings, Inc.'s (CCK) annual meeting of shareholders, the Office of Investment of the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is urging Crown's shareholders to vote in favor of a shareholder proposal that would limit retirement benefits for senior executives.
The AFL-CIO's Office of Investment joins ISS, the leading proxy voting advisory service, in recommending that shareholders vote in favor of the proposal that would require shareholder approval for all future extraordinary retirement benefits for senior executives.
According to the AFL-CIO's letter, Crown offers senior executives far more generous retirement benefits than other employees. Furthermore, these retirement benefits are not performance-driven, hurt employee morale and would be better allocated to performance-based compensation.
"Providing senior executives with preferential retirement benefits increases the cost of the company's nonqualified retirement plans to shareholders without furthering alignment of executive pay with long-term company performance," the Office of Investment's letter states.
The question of preferential senior executive retirement benefits is expected to be especially controversial as shareholders head to this year's annual meeting in Philadelphia. In Toronto, 120 Crown workers have been on strike for eight months after Crown demanded a five-year continuation of an eight-year freeze on their pensions. Strikers and supporters are planning to have a significant presence at the meeting tomorrow.
"We are grateful that the AFL-CIO is highlighting the issue of preferential retirement benefits for executives," said USW Staff Representative Lawrence Hay. "Our members are fighting for a modest increase to their pensions after years and years of freezes while Crown's CEO will receive $32 million in pension benefits. It's important shareholders see the discrepancies and question how the company is run."
Crown has refused to negotiate a fair settlement with the striking workers in Toronto and forced a vote on an agreement that provided few, if any assurances that the workers could return to work after ending the strike. The agreement was turned down 117 to 1 and Crown has refused to return to the bargaining table and continues to attempt to operate the facility with replacement workers.
Support for the strikers at Crown in Toronto has generated a global campaign highlighting Crown's actions against workers in Turkey and elsewhere. For more information on the campaign, see www.takebacksnomore.ca.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, firstname.lastname@example.org; Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-570-9984, email@example.com; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org