I got an email today from the good folks at the Manhattan Institute who passed along this news:
James Copland's latest report, Proxy Monitor 2011: A Report on Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism, reveals that in recent years activist groups, including labor unions, have exploited the shareholder proposal process to exert influence over corporate management and to pursue policy goals outside the legislative process.
Copland's analysis draws upon information from the recently expanded ProxyMonitor.org shareholder-proposal database of Fortune 150 public companies (January 2008 to August 2011.) Copland suggests that activists are reshaping American corporate governance both directly in the boardroom and indirectly by influencing legislation, such as the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which mandates new shareholder votes on "say-on-pay" proposals. Copland finds that special interests may be gaining leverage over management, and there is reason to believe that these activists' agendas might be adverse to the interests of the typical diversified shareholder.