Down on Dell

Dell is holding its annual meeting today and the AFL-CIO plans to show its disapproval by asking shareholders to withhold votes from Chairman and CEO Michael Dell. AFL-CIO will also recommend shareholders support their resolutions for an annual advisory vote on executive compensation and to amend the company’s bylaws. Today, AFL-CIO’s Deputy Director of Investment Brandon Rees joined Varney & Co.

“We’re making a big stink because the retirement savings of America’s workers are invested in Dell’s stock which is down 2/3, 66%, over the past ten years,” said Rees. “Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, Michael Dell was the 12th-highest paid CEO in America.”

Michael Dell and the company recently settled a complaint filed by the SEC alleging accounting and disclosure violations. “Our retirements are in jeopardy because of companies like Dell, whose CEO has been charged and settled allegations by the SEC of accounting wrongdoing and of misleading shareholders.”

The AFL-CIO and AFSCME sent a letter to the shareholders noting that Michael Dell sold more than 68 million shares for about $2 billion during the period covered by the SEC allegations. On August 5, 2010, Institutional Shareholder Services recommended shareholders withhold their votes from Michael Dell, as well as four directors who served on the audit committee at the time of the alleged accounting violations.

Rees believes that if technology companies were unionized, they would be as good as they are today. He said, “If Apple computer made computers in the United States and made its iPods in the United States, I think they would be better for it.”