At today’s annual meeting of T-Mobile U.S. Inc. in Bellevue, Wash., shareholders voted on a proposal urging the T-Mobile board of directors to disclose how it assesses human rights risks in its operations and supply chain.
The human rights shareholder proposal was presented by the Marco Consulting Group, a Chicago-based registered investment adviser, and backed by the AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America (CWA). But the proposal was not supported by T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, which owns 67% of T-Mobile’s outstanding shares, and it failed.
The human rights shareholder proposal urged T-Mobile’s board to report on its compliance with the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, also commonly known as the “Ruggie Principles.” Deutsche Telekom has endorsed the Ruggie Principles, but it did not support similar disclosure for its U.S. subsidiary.
Brandon Rees, deputy director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, said:
Human rights violations can have detrimental effects on a company’s reputation and its brand name. Ensuring that T-Mobile complies with human rights is good for T-Mobile’s business and its shareholders.
The proposal asked T-Mobile to report on human rights risks in its own operations and in its supply chain. For example, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint alleging that T-Mobile violated its employees’ rights under federal labor law, including the right to form and join unions. T-Mobile also is exposed to human rights risks in its mobile phone supply chain and overseas call centers.