Protests Crashing Warren’s Party
The Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha, on April 30 this year, is always a draw for Warren Buffett fans. It’s also a magnet for protests.
Buffett’s support for family planning and reproductive rights has made his meeting a target for anti-abortion groups. In 2003 he halted a charity program at Berkshire after some donations drew boycott threats. Buffett and his family still give to familyplanning causes.
Treats from Dairy Queen, a Berkshire holding, add to the charm of the yearly meeting. But in 2004 a move to redesign some restaurants around a “Grill & Chill” concept upset some franchisees worried about the cost. They put up a billboard on Omaha’s I-480.
In 2007, Mia Farrow and other activists pushed Berkshire to sell holdings in Petrochina. The oil company’s parent held reserves and pipelines in Sudan, whose government t was accused of supportingrting genocide in Darfur. . Shareholders voted down the proposal.
Protesters brought an 8-foot-tall papier-mâché asthma inhaler in 2012 to draw attention to local pollution from a rail yard that Berkshire’s BNSF unit wanted to buil build in California. BN BNSF said the te terminal would cu cut emissions by e eliminating some truck trips.
Labor struggles have often dogged Netjets, the luxury aviation unit at Berkshire. In 2015 tensions spilled over to the annual meeting, as a few hundred pilots and family members picketed outside. By y the end of last year, a newew management team at Netjets reached a deal with the pilots.
To bring attention to the issue, the Nebraska Peace Foundation, which owns one $220,340 share, wants Berkshire to disclose how climate affects its insurance subsidiaries. Climate scientist James Hansen is set to speak on behalf of the resolution.