The AFL-CIO has begun targeting directors who sit on compensation committees,
holding them responsible for approving pay packages it considers particularly
questionable, according to the Dow Jones Newswires.
The union's actions include naming directors on a specially created website
(linked below) and, more important, urging stockholders to withhold votes from
"We are urging shareholders to take a proactive approach in stopping runaway
CEO pay dead in its tracks," AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka
said. "Irresponsible directors must be removed to rein in excessive CEO
pay that ultimately robs working families of their retirement security."
Dow Jones notes that the union's campaign is part of a growing effort by activist
investors to drive home their concerns over corporate governance. For instance,
the $165 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System announced
on its Web site Thursday that it plans to withhold votes from directors at Lockheed
Martin Corp. and Apple Computer Inc. over a variety of corporate governance
The companies on the AFL-CIO's watch list include: Citigroup Inc., Safeway
Inc., Comcast Corp., AMR Corp. (the parent of American Airlines), Cendant Corp.,
Cisco Systems Inc., Apple Computer Inc., Clear Channel Communications Inc.,
Dominion Resources Inc., and United Rentals Inc.
Directors targeted by the AFL-CIO include top executives, including Time Warner
Inc. Chief Executive Richard D. Parsons, who is chairman of Citigroup's
compensation committee, and Carol Bartz, Autodesk Inc.'s CEO, who serves
as chairwoman of the compensation panel at Cisco.