The proposal received a scant 17% of the votes cast at the Louisville, Kentucky meeting, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Another proposal to keep IBM from adopting a poison pill to deter hostile takeovers did a bit better, garnering 33% of the votes.
A number of larger employers have seen similar shareholder initiatives this year. Earlier this month nearly half of the shares voted at Verizon Communications supported excluding pension income from executive compensation calculations. A year ago, just 18.7% supported the measure.
Meanwhile, retirees at the Lexington, Massachusetts-based Raytheon also rejected – but by a margin of 245 million to 35 million – a proposal to exclude the company’s pension income in reporting the financial results used to calculate executive stock option awards.
However, Raytheon shareholders went against management in supporting the annual elections of directors and another that would restrict anti-takeover provisions.