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A Problematic Proxy Season

Shareholders have begun flexing their muscles and are preparing to take management to task during companies' annual meetings this year

Proxy season is fast arriving, and many corporations, already suffering from slumping stock prices, are going to have to be prepared to face angry shareholders, who are filling proxy ballots with resolutions ranging from more stockholder say over executive pay to demands for environmental impact statements.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees has already filed "say on pay" resolutions with more than 90 publicly traded companies, including Bear Stearns (BSC), Capital One (COF), Citigroup (C), Countrywide Financial (CFC), Merck (MRK), Merrill Lynch (MER), Morgan Stanley (MS), Motorola (MOT), Wachovia (WB), Wal-Mart (WMT), and Wells Fargo (WFC).