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.

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Mar­kets/Fi­nance - —— Noah Buha­yar and Emma Orr

Abor­tion

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.

DQ fran­chisees

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.

Dar­fur

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.

Pol­lu­tion

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.

Pi­lots

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.

Cli­mate change

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.

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