In a significant victory for Dollar General’s workers, a shareholder resolution – filed by United Church Funds (UCF) alongside Domini Impact Investing and several members  of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) – received 68% support from Dollar General shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on May 31.

“The recent majority vote at Dollar General marks a turning point for workers’ rights,” said Matthew Illian, UCF Director of Responsible Investing. “This victory also illustrates a growing movement that demands fair labor practices and human rights, emphasizing the power of collective action in achieving meaningful gains for workers’ rights and highlighting the increasing momentum behind years of efforts to ensure fair treatment and improved working conditions across various industries,” added Illian.

The shareholder resolution calls for an independent third-party audit to look at how Dollar General’s policies and practices are impacting worker safety. The audit will include a focus on factors that have created unsafe working conditions, including understaffed stores, in-store violence, poverty wages and OSHA violations.

Although the shareholder resolution vote is not legally binding, Illian said: “We expect that Dollar General will follow the call from its investors to conduct the audit to ensure that all measures are being taken to avoid unsafe working conditions.”

Discount retailer Dollar General has grown into one of the most profitable chain of stores in the United States, with 2022 net sales of more than $37 billion. But critics say that the company’s phenomenal growth has come at a dangerous price: the safety and welfare of Dollar General workers.

Just a year ago, Dollar General workers traveled for nine hours, from Louisiana to Tennessee, to attend the company’s annual shareholder meeting, only to be greeted with a closed door – shut out from the meeting. This year, not only did workers enter the meeting, but they walked out with a victory.

The pursuit of improved and fair conditions for workers involved a sustained, multi-year engagement. UCF’s long-standing partnership with ICCR has played a pivotal role in advancing health and safety standards and wage equity.

The Advancing Worker Justice (AWJ) program, led by ICCR, facilitates alliances between shareholder advocates and worker-led organizations, uniting efforts to drive meaningful change and secure dignity and justice for all working people. By activating investments, forging strategic partnerships and leveraging movement-building strategies, UCF and ICCR are making significant strides in influencing workplace practices and empowering workers in the United States and Canada.

UCF also filed a shareholder resolution at Dollar Tree, urging the company to review its compensation practices and their impact on wage inequality. Shareholders will vote on that proposal on Tuesday, June 13.

The day before that, Illian will travel to Washington to join a panel of Dollar Tree workers, research experts and labor advocates to discuss the urgent need for federal action to address systemic issues in the dollar store industry. Register to join this event by clicking here.

Click here to learn more about UCF Responsible Investing.