Owning stock in a company is literally owning a part of that company. Sure, your voice is diluted out by the literal millions of other shareholders, especially those that own massive parts of the company, but a voice you do have.
If you’ve held stock long enough you might’ve gotten an email or notification (usually) about voting your shares. This usually is at the annual shareholder meeting which sounds really cool and fancy; I want to go to one someday. As a shareholder you’re invited, or so the emails usually say. I don’t know if they’d let me in dressed in my regular daily attire, but damnit I’m a shareholder! I own this company (sort of…)!
I own “quite a bit” of UPS stock, maybe around 120 shares or so. The ‘quite a bit’ is in quotation marks because this is peanuts compared to the total shares the company has outstanding: 729 million! (Witten another way: 729,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros.) My paltry 150 shares — I’m rounding up jut to feel better — is 2.05×10^-7 of the total. I can’t even put that as a percent, which is what I was trying to do. It’s that small. It’s that pointless. It’s that useless. At least pointless in regards to my “ownership” of the company.
I don’t care too much about voting with the other stocks I hold. I don’t give a fuck what Tilray, the shitty weed company, wants to do because I only have 700 shares to get fucking rich someday. I don’t care about the company; for all I care they can go bankrupt one day and I wouldn’t be sad (as long as I’ve sold my shares long before then). But UPS is different. I work there. It’s what I represent, and in a twisted way it somewhat represents me. I’ve been there for 16 years so UPS does have some meaning to my life, apparently, as much I hate to admit it.
Here’s the paper of stuff to vote on…also note the “Boards Recommendations” on the right margin.
You see what I’m going to bitch about now, don’tcha?
All of these fuzzy-warm, green, planet-saving initiatives always, ALWAYS, get voted down. I always vote FOR, but who gives a shit what I think because I only own 2.05×10^-7 of the company. Even if there are a million people just like me, it’d still fail, because our shares don’t mean much, if anything. Also, you can see that ‘Class A’ shares apparently get 10 votes per share to our plebian ‘Class B’ shares, so it’s just another fuck you to the little guy.
It’s always money, I’m sure. These proposals, as good as they are on paper, will cost the company money. They’d have to hire a committee, be honest, make their carbon emissions known, and all of that fun stuff. The shareholders just want money, damnit! We (and I mean They) don’t want to save the world. UPS is a company to ship shit, to make that green, and not to be some crusader for the planet. Fuck all of that shit.
Hilariously enough, when I logged onto upsers.com, our go-to website for all things work related, I was met with this story. It’s all about e-bikes in the UK! Stating, “With a fleet of electric-assist eQuad bikes taking to the streets in London, UPS is pilot testing new ways to serve customers while reducing carbon footprint and traffic congestion.” I didn’t even emphasize the last part; that’s what the company did all on their own.
But let’s make sure to vote down that shareholder proposal to study UPS’s carbon footprint and everything else that will hold the company sort of accountable in a transparent manner.
I’m pretty upset, mostly because there’s nothing I can do about it. Each year these proposals are on the voting agenda, and each year they’re voted down. Hell, the members of the board probably, maybe, own 50% of all the votes so there’s no way anything will pass, but maybe I’m being cynical on the 50% part. On top of that, I don’t see exactly what’s bad about the proposals. They don’t seem like they’d hog-tie the company into financial doom. Like what’s wrong with just looking into converting the fleet to green energy? What’s wrong with being open about political lobbying activities or diversity? Just take a fucking look at it, it’s that easy. At the very least doing these in the spirit of transparency seems like a good idea, so what is the downside?
There’s always the choice to ‘abstain’ from voting, but I’d like to say a vote to abstain is really a vote saying, “Just do whatever the board wants. I don’t really care.” So I’ll post this angry blog post, go vote my shares, and toss the paper away. There’ll be no looking for the results of the annual meeting and the vote, because, as always, I already know the results.