Yesterday, I posted a letter that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sent to 50 of Minnesota’s largest companies with a vague threat (referencing a Starbucks boycott the group staged). The goal of the letter is to get companies to stay neutral on the mean-spirited marriage amendment on ballots this fall.
So, I decided that it was time that we start sending our own letters. To make it easy, I included contact information for a couple of big companies below:
Phone: 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289)
Mail: Best Buy Corporate Customer Care, P.O. Box 9312, Minneapolis , MN 55440
Mail: 1000 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Mail: PO Box 9300, Minneapolis, MN, 55440-9300
Oh, and also, PLEASE be sure to send General Mills a BIG thank you for coming out against the amendment!
Phone: 1-800-248-7310 (7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CT, weekdays)
Mail: General Mills, Inc., P.O. Box 9452, Minneapolis, MN 55440
Here’s a great article that looks at where over a dozen Minnesota-based companies stand on the mean-spirited marriage amendment on ballots this fall. The article includes views from the following companies:
- Ameriprise Financial: No public position, it’s a state issue
- Best Buy: Solely focused on turning around their business
- Cargill: No public position
- Carlson Cos: No official position (however, I’ve already posted a couple times about CEO, Marilyn Carlson Nelson and her beliefs that this amendment will do much harm to the state of Minnesota if it were to pass)
- CHS: Does not take positions not directly affecting its business operations
- Ecolab: Does not comment on social issues
- General Mills: Opposes amendment (this blog has been busy over the past week with this news – 1, 2, 3)
- Medtronic: Not taken a position (however, former CEO, Bill George has spoken out in a big way saying that other “corporate leaders need to speak out forcefully against this amendment…”)
- St. Jude Medical: Does not believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of Minnesota
- Supervalu: Will not engage in this ballot campaign
- Target: Does not believe that a constitutional fight over the issue is good for Minnesota or the state’s ability to attract jobs and grow the economy (I blogged about this a couple weeks back)
- 3M: Focuses on business issues, no stand on the amendment
- U.S. Bancorp: Amendment does not relate to their core business of banking
- Xcel Energy: Does not take positions on ballot questions that do not concern energy policy
So there you have it. As promised earlier this spring, I will continue to bring you news as I have it related to where companies in Minnesota stand on the amendment. Let’s hope others will follow General Mills’ lead this week and speak out for equality.
I’ve talked about Minnesota businesses a couple of times in this blog. As we get closer to the amendment, I plan to share what we know about Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies and where they stand when it comes to the amendment.
My purpose certainly isn’t to shame any organization into supporting the amendment or creating state-wide boycotts. Instead, my hope is that if we educate same-sex advocates on where companies stand, we can help influence the views of leaders in these organizations.
For example, Gregg Steinhafel shared in June of 2011 that Target would remain neutral on the marriage amendment:
Our position at this particular time is that we are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view…
We have a broad team-member base, every shape and size and color. And so we are a very inclusive organization….We’re going to continue to monitor, we’re going to continue to assess, and see how that develops.
I completely understand where he is coming from. Target took a lot of heat in 2010 (some argue it was appropriate, others argue it was not) in regards to the Minnesota Forward donation. If I were in Mr. Steinhafel’s shoes, I would probably think twice about taking a stand one way or another on this issue, too. However, the CEO of Target has friends, neighbors and colleagues that are gay, or have sons and daughters that are gay, etc.. If we can connect on that personal level, we can influence decisions.
And it’s not just Target’s CEO. Brian Dunn, former CEO Best Buy had also remained quiet. The list goes on (refer to my previous post to see where other companies stand on this issue).
Of course, we do know that there have been leaders that have come out in firm opposition of this mean-spirited amendment, too. Marilyn Carlson Nelson received probably the most attention when she shared her views.
Important note: Just because an organization hasn’t taken a public stance of opposition against the amendment, doesn’t mean they are “anti-gay.” Quite the contrary. We’re fortunate to have one of the largest Pride celebrations in the country that is supported by companies like Target and Best Buy. Internally, Target, Best Buy and others have employee resource groups, provide team members extensive benefits and are advocates for diversity and inclusion. Our role is to help these organizations, and their leaders, understand the far-reaching impacts of this mean-spirited amendment. As we get closer to the amendment vote, I’m hopeful that we will see more of the Fortune 500 companies located here come out in support of marriage equality like Amazon.com did back in February.
Author’s note: Target team member involved with Target’s LGBTA Business Council.
And unfortunately, I don’t think this will change into the new year. As a leader at one of these 13, there’s a lot of talk about the amendment from employees, but a clear message that the company will not take a stand. Sad, really. Do we think it’s good for business? No. However, after all of the drama that Target and Best Buy went through with Mn Forward, no one dares speak out.
Glad to hear that the Carlson Companies are in a different place! :)