This excerpt taken from the VZ DEF 14A filed Mar 23, 2009.
Trust for The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund, 900 Seventh Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001, owner of 149,425 shares of the Companys common stock, proposes the following:
RESOLVED: That the stockholders of Verizon Communications, Inc. (the Company), assembled in Annual Meeting in person and by proxy, hereby request the Board of Directors to take the necessary steps to provide for cumulative voting in the election of directors, which means each stockholder shall be entitled to as many votes as shall equal the number of shares he or she owns multiplied by the number of directors to be elected, and he or she may cast all of such votes for a single candidate, or any two or more of them as he or she may see fit.
Cumulative voting means that each shareholder may cast as many votes as equal the number of shares held, multiplied by the number of directors to be elected. Each shareholder may cast all such cumulated votes for a single candidate or split votes between one or more candidates, as each shareholder sees fit.
We believe that cumulative voting increases the possibility of electing at least one director with a viewpoint independent of management. In our opinion, this will help achieve the objective of the board representing all shareholders.
We urge our fellow shareholders to vote yes for cumulative voting and the opportunity to enhance our Board with a more independent perspective.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS POSITION
Verizon strongly believes in shareholder democracy. At the present time, each share of Verizon common stock has one vote, and each candidate for Director must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected to the Board. The entire Board of Directors is elected annually. Verizons Board believes that this is the most equitable system for electing Directors.
The Company adopted majority voting at the request of its shareholders. Cumulative voting is incompatible with majority voting. By permitting shareholders to aggregate their votes and cast them for only one or a limited number of directors, cumulative voting could easily result in the election of directors who receive less than a majority of the votes outstanding. Shareholders who cumulate their vote often do not vote for all of the candidates for directors and accordingly, some directors who receive very few for votes may be elected to the Board.
In addition, cumulative voting would permit special interest groups to leverage their voting power and elect one or more Directors. The Board is concerned that a Director elected by a special interest constituency may base decisions on the interests of the group responsible for his or her election rather than acting in the best interests of Verizon and all of its shareholders.
The Board of Directors firmly believes that the present system best assures that the elected directors will represent and act in the interests of all shareholders, and not just a particular group, and that this proposal is not in the best interests of Verizon and its shareholders.
The Board of Directors recommends that you vote AGAINST this proposal.
This excerpt taken from the VZ DEF 14A filed Mar 17, 2008.
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, owner of 1,300 shares of the Companys common stock, proposes the following:
GENDER IDENTITY NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
Whereas: Verizon does not explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in its written employment policy, yet Verizons policy already does explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation;
Over 30% of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as well as 400 leading private sector companies and eighty-five U.S. colleges and universities, according to the Human Rights Campaign;
Ninety-three City and County Governments and twelve States have passed clear gender identity and expression legislative protections including California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington;
Over 350 U.S. based human rights organizations including the Equality Project Investor Coalition (that advocates for gender identity protections as part of its Equality Principles benchmark), and every U.S. State civil rights advocacy group has endorsed national legislation explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity.
Our company has operations in, and makes sales to institutions in States and Cities that currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
We believe that corporations that prohibit discrimination both on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity have a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining employees from the widest talent pool;
Resolved: The Shareholders request that Verizon Communications amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, and to substantially implement this policy.
Supporting Statement: Employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity diminishes employee morale and productivity. Because state and local laws are inconsistent with respect to such employment discrimination, our company would benefit from a consistent, corporate wide policy to enhance efforts to prevent discrimination, resolve complaints internally, and ensure a respectful and supportive atmosphere for all employees. Verizon will enhance its competitive edge by joining the growing ranks of companies guaranteeing equal opportunity for all employees.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS POSITION
As an equal opportunity employer, Verizon is committed to operating its business in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and providing a workplace free from discrimination and harassment of any kind. Verizon has a zero tolerance policy for any conduct that is intended to or has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
The Verizon Code of Conduct and our nondiscrimination policy expressly prohibit discrimination, sexual harassment or other unlawful harassment based on sexual orientation, as well as on age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability or any other legally protected category under federal, state or local law. A copy of the Code of Conduct can be found on Verizons website at http://investor.verizon.com/corp_gov/. Verizon reinforces the provisions of the Code of Conduct on an ongoing basis through periodic, mandatory training and through employee communications and workplace postings. In addition, Verizon also provides a 24-hour, toll-free number for employees where they can report compliance issues or concerns.
The Board shares the proponents interest in preventing discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity and believes that Verizons strong anti-discrimination policies and strict enforcement of its zero tolerance policy make the requested amendment to those policies unnecessary.
The Board of Directors recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal.