By Tim McLaughlin
BOSTON, May 16 (Reuters) - Shouting protesters calling themselves the “99 percent” disrupted State Street Corp’s annual meeting on Wednesday, using a coordinated plan to interrupt Chairman and Chief Executive Jay Hooley five different times.
The group of labor and community leaders accused the custody bank of dodging taxes, outsourcing jobs, investing in a private prison and defrauding pension fund clients. Their complaints, which Hooley denied, echoed the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which has portrayed U.S. banks as the elite “one percent” who triggered the financial crisis that began in 2008.
On the 36th floor of State Street’s headquarters in Boston, protesters stood up while Hooley was talking and shouted a number of things, including: “You should be ashamed of yourselves!”
After State Street security staff escorted the first group of protesters out of the meeting, Hooley resumed his presentation only to be interrupted four more times at varying intervals.
“We wanted to make sure we got our points heard,” said Gillian Mason, a spokeswoman for the protest group. “We wanted to disrupt the meeting as much as possible.”
During this season of corporate annual meetings, protest groups also have shouted at General Electric Co CEO Jeff Immelt and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, for example.
Hooley appeared to take the shouting protesters in stride. After being interrupted a fourth time, He deadpanned: “Are there any more questions on item two.”
He later addressed each pointed raised by the protesters, saying their allegations were untrue. He said, for example, that State Street’s employment in Massachusetts has increased 26 percent since 2005. The company’s asset management arm invests on behalf of clients across a broad index of stocks, including a company that runs prisons, he added.
The protest group is part of a coalition called MassUniting, whose partners include Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Service Employees International Union and the Massachusetts Communities Action Network.