New York City Employees' Retirement System and Illinois State Board of Investment, Chicago, introduced a shareholder proposal at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. calling for the company's board of directors to issue a report on the company's alleged failure to comply with International Labor Organization standards on workers' rights.
"As shareholders, we are concerned with the vast reports of noncompliance with international labor standards in Wal-Mart's operations, rendering the company a negative reputation and causing (it) considerable economic harm," William R. Atwood, executive director of the $11.9 billion Illinois fund, wrote in a letter to Thomas D. Hyde, corporate secretary of Wal-Mart.
Representatives of the two funds have talked with Wal-Mart officials about the concern but failed to reach agreement, prompting the funds to sponsor the proposal, Mr. Atwood said in an interview.
The $37 billion NYCERS owns 2,953,214 Wal-Mart shares and ISBI, 451,055 shares.
Wal-Mart officials declined to comment on the talks or the proposal, said John Smiley, spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based company. Wal-Mart's annual meeting hasn't been scheduled yet but is typically in June, said Jami Arms, Wal-Mart spokeswoman.