The largest of Sweden’s national pension funds has co-filed a shareholder resolution at the annual general meeting of Tesla, seeking to strengthen workers’ rights at the electric car firm.
AP7, the SEK970bn (€91.4bn) default provider of the premium pension, said the shareholder resolution, which was being led by Nia Impact Capital, would be brought to Tesla’s AGM – which takes place on 4 August – for the third year in a row.
In 2020 and 2021, the pension fund said, the proposal had gained 27% and 45% of votes, respectively.
Charlotta Dawidowski Sydstrand, head of ESG at AP7, said: “AP7 has been in dialogue with Tesla for several years regarding concerns over workers’ rights.
“Given limited progress in those discussions AP7 has chosen to actively support this shareholder resolution which aims at strengthening employee rights and improving transparency on disputes such as discrimination and harassment,” she said.
The resolution – listed as proposal number nine on the AGM agenda – asks Tesla to report on the impact of the use of mandatory arbitration for resolving disputes between workers and Tesla as an employer, and to evaluate the effects of it on Tesla’s brand, employees and workplace culture.
“Arbitration is an out-of-court method,” said AP7, adding that when disputes were handled through arbitration, the underlying facts and the outcome of the case often remained secret, which it said stopped other employees from learning about and acting on shared concerns.
In the shareholder proposal, Nia Impact Capital wrote that Tesla’s valuable brand would be harmed by an association with racist, sexist, or other discriminatory behaviours, and that its future success also relied on its ability to innovate, and to implement those innovations effectively.
“For investors to have confidence that it will be able to do this well, Tesla must also have confidence that the company has effective human capital management systems,” it wrote.
The proposal is opposed by the Tesla board, which said on the published agenda for the upcoming AGM that the idea would not serve the best interests of Tesla or the company’s stockholders.
”As with the similar proposal presented by this proponent at the 2020 and 2021 annual meetings of stockholders, both of which were rejected by Tesla’s stockholders, the proponent cites inaccurate and unsupported assertions regarding arbitration and its alleged impact on workplace conditions at Tesla,” the board wrote as part of a 761-word rebuttal.