Contact: Matthew Sweeney, (212) 669-3747 June 3, 2011
NEW YORK, NY – New York City Comptroller John C. Liu issued the following statement in response to questions concerning the NYC Pension Funds’ presentation at Wal-Mart’s annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas today.
“Low prices are good, but it is Wal-Mart’s responsibility to ensure that it is not passing to its customers savings bought with abusive labor practices,” Comptroller Liu said. “Wal-Mart can and should do much more to hold its suppliers accountable for protecting human and workers’ rights. Wal-Mart can’t claim to be that bright yellow smiley face that we see around the world if its global suppliers don’t protect their workers from abuse or intimidation.”
The NYC Pension Funds’ shareholder proposal calls on Wal-Mart’s board to require that the company’s suppliers publish reports on their compliance with internationally recognized standards of human and workers’ rights. Kalpona Akter, a labor rights leader in Bangladesh and former garment worker, presented the proposal to Wal-Mart’s board of directors at the invitation of Comptroller Liu and the Funds.
The NYC Pension Funds hold 5,696,055 shares of Wal-Mart, Inc. valued at $305,023,745.25 million as of 6/2/2011.