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News 22 | "The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder" - UC Hastings March 11, 2019.


On March 11, 2019 the Center for Business Law at the University of California, Hastings College for the Law, hosted a book talk with David Webber, the author of “The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder”, at a packed auditorium in San Francisco.

In The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor's Last Best Weapon, David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on the role of pension fund activism in U.S. corporate governance. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that “workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters.” He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

Evan Epstein, Pacifica Global’s Founder and Managing Partner was a discussant at this event and highlighted a few issues in connection with this book:

  1. Framework of U.S. Public Company Governance.

  2. The Rise of Shareholder Empowerment (in the last 30 years) and Shareholder Activism (in the last 10 years).

  3. Opposite Trends in Silicon Valley, highlighted by the use of dual class shares/supermajority voting structures and companies staying private for longer (including observations on unicorns and other mythological tech creatures).

  4. The Current Governance Battles in Silicon Valley.

The corporate governance landscape keeps evolving, and it is important to keep abreast of the latest governance trends that can impact boards of directors, management, shareholders, employees and all the different stakeholders in the corporate ecosystem.


Pacifica Global was founded in San Francisco to serve as a leading corporate governance advisory firm. The mission of Pacifica Global is to help public and private companies solve some of their most complex corporate governance conflicts and challenges.