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Goldman’s Flip on Harassment Followed Campaign by Tiny Activist

  • Foundation opens window into secretive world of arbitration
  • Nathan Cummings traces its roots to Sara Lee conglomerate

What did it take to get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to relent on its opposition to studying the impact of mandatory arbitration? A series of calls with a tiny investor in November, January and March, an embarrassing shareholder vote in April, a TV personality’s endorsement, and more pressure in May.

The initial response wasn’t promising when the Nathan Cummings Foundation, whose founder ran a conglomerate best-known for its Sara Lee desserts, filed its proposal asking the investment bank to look into how forced arbitration affects staff and the workplace.