May 23, 2014

Protest of Merger at Comcast Shareholders Meeting in Philadelphia

Protesters outside the Comcast shareholders meeting hold signs
indicating the number of people who oppose the merger deal.
Photo credit: Viviana Pernot, Staff Photographer
On Wednesday about 100 Comcast shareholders met in Philadelphia for the company’s annual shareholders meeting. Outside, national policy and consumer groups protested Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable. Groups represented included Free Press, Common Cause, Media Mobilizing Project, Consumers Union and Center for Media Justice.  They used the opportunity to present a petition with more than 400,000 signatures from people who object to the merger.

At the meeting, shareholders reelected Comcast board members and approved compensation packages for Comcast executives, including CEO Brian Roberts who earned $30 million last year. Shareholders also rejected several proposals, including a request from the Episcopal Church calling on the company to be more transparent about its government lobbying activities. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Comcast spent almost $19 million on lobbying efforts last year, and is one of the country’s top corporate spenders.

Also represented at the meeting was the Chicago branch of the IBEW, who called on the company to settle a longstanding dispute over technicians’ contracts. As detailed extensively on this blog, also unresolved in Chicago is Comcast’s cable franchise renewal, where public benefits to community resource CAN TV are still being negotiated a year into the process.

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