What does it say when corporate executives are scared of their own employees and shareholders?
U.S. companies are being advised to batten down the hatches for their annual meetings this year amid rising anger among investors and the public over bonuses, bailouts, layoffs and slumping share prices.
Protests were organized for Thursday outside offices of American International Group, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Bank of America across the country.
AIG employees have been getting death threats since a national furor erupted this week about more than $160 million in bonuses the troubled insurer recently paid.
Companies have been advised to contact local police departments to warn officers ahead of time about possible trouble at their annual meetings. Security and legal staff are being assigned to eject disruptive shareholders from meetings if necessary.
The extra security steps show how companies have become the focus of widespread anger as the recession has deepened and unemployment surged. In addition to disgruntled shareholders, former employees and protestors against executive compensation could also pose problems.
Suddenly mainstream America doesn't look like capitalists anymore. Could we see a return of class consciousness?