NEW YORK — The New York City Retirement Systems won agreements from Best Buy Co., Fluor Corp., General Mills Inc. and VF Corp. "to improve their policies to ensure that their overseas suppliers respect workers' human rights" in accord with shareholder proposals introduced by the funds, according to William C. Thompson Jr., New York City comptroller.
As a result, the funds agreed to withdraw their shareholder proposals at the four companies.
"We commend them for taking a responsible approach to their business operations and demonstrating that they are accountable to their shareholders," Mr. Thompson said in a statement.
Fluor "recently undertook an overall enhancement of its compliance and ethics program," company officials said in a statement. The firm agreed to review "the adequacy and effectiveness of our code of business conduct and ethics" and "to address the basic tenets embodied in the International Labor Organization conventions on workplace human rights, as well as the United Nations' Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations with Regard to Human Rights, as set forth in your proposal," the statement said.
Susan Busch, Best Buy spokeswoman, said she couldn't respond until she had more information. General Mills and VF representatives couldn't be reached.
Mr. Thompson plans to ask the funds to reintroduce workplace rights shareholder resolutions at Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Cooper Industries Ltd., C.R. Bard Inc., E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Dillard's Inc., Hasbro Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corp., Primus Telecommunications Group Inc. and TJX Cos. Resolutions in the past proxy season at these companies received enough votes to satisfy the required vote threshold for resubmission, the statement said.
… and submit shareholder
resolution to Alberto-Culver
New YORK — New York City's five public pension funds want Alberto-Culver Co., Melrose Park, Ill., to implement the MacBride Principles, a set of guidelines to establish justice and equality in the workplace in Northern Ireland. William C. Thompson Jr., city comptroller, submitted a shareholder resolution asking the company to implement the principles.
The funds — the New York City Employees' Retirement System, the Teachers' Retirement System, the Police Pension Fund, the Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System — hold 212,439 shares of Alberto-Culver common stock with a total market value of $9.3 million.
Yvette Jackson, city spokeswoman, confirmed Alberto-Culver is the fifth company to receive such a shareholder resolution from the city pension funds this year. Mr. Thompson already submitted shareholder proposals to Claire's Stores Inc., Raytheon Co., TeleTech Holdings Inc. and Yum Brands Inc.
Last year, the funds' resolutions led to calls by Coca-Cola Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Marriott International Inc. to urge franchise holders in Northern Ireland to implement the principles and adhere to fair employment standards. The funds have more than $1.4 billion in total investments in those three firms.
The MacBride Principles were created in 1984 by Sean MacBride, founder of Amnesty International, and several associates to serve as guidelines for corporations in Northern Ireland to ensure fair employment standards and foster a diverse work force.