Microsoft, Starbucks & Others Unite Against GOP Vote Suppression

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Americans watched as Republican powerhouses pushed President Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economic moves in the 1980s. Companies had been paternalistic organizations where people were kept on for decades and retired with an engraved watch. Then, the people hit the fan. Corporations hired people, worked them to death, and threw their bodies on the heap. But things have changed once again.

Members of the new generation said that they would take a pay cut in order to work for a company that held beliefs similar to their own. Suddenly, employees became valuable. Now corporations show they care about two things: their profits and their employees. No profits mean unhappy corporate board members. No employees, then there is no business.

The Washington Post’s bold headline read “We Stand for Democracy.” The full-page ad under the headline ran in The Post, The New York Times, and other major print organizations.

There were hundreds of top companies and corporate leaders lending their signatures to a statement just released Wednesday. It was against laws restricting voter rights in the war between Republican legislators and voters.

The letter included these companies and prominent people such as Warren Buffett. It was also signed by law firms and nonprofits, including:

‘Target, Netflix, Bank of America, Facebook, Cisco, Twitter, Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Mastercard, American Airlines, United Airlines and Vanguard, as well as prominent people such as investor Warren Buffett, law firms and nonprofit organizations.’

Georgia headquartered Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines had come out against the state’s new voting rules right after they passed.  They opposed the laws, which included reducing voting hours and other restrictive measures to hinder voter accessibily. Coca-Cola, Delta, and other companies railed against these voter restrictions. Yet, these two did not sign the statement.

Corporations can influence voters. Clearly, they could put a stop on donations to Republican lawmakers or delay investments in a state.

Over 100 top corporations participated in a Zoom call seeking solutions to these problems. The former CEO of American Express and Kenneth Frazier CEO of Merck urged the other executives to continue in their fight against restrictive voting laws, The New York Post reported.

Last month, 72 Black business executives Chenault and Frazier made the letter happen and asked the corporate leaders to sign onto the letter. It was published Wednesday:

‘Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy, and we call upon all Americans to take a nonpartisan stand for this basic and most fundamental right of all Americans.’

The statement also uncovered an interesting difference of opinion between corporate leaders and their companies:

‘Reid Hoffman, the chief executive of LinkedIn, signed the statement, but LinkedIn did not. Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi was listed, but not Uber. Arthur Blank, Atlanta Falcons owner and co-founder of Home Depot, which he left as co-chairman in 2001, signed, but Home Depot is missing.’

Home Depot released a statement that read:

‘[W]e decided that the most appropriate approach for us to take is to continue to underscore our belief that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation, and to continue to work to ensure our associates in Georgia and across the country have the information and resources to vote.’

There were a few celebrities who signed onto the letter, too. They included “Naomi Campbell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Katy Perry, and Gwyneth Paltrow.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said last week:

‘[I found it] completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics. My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.’

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