A group called the “Against the Wal Coalition” will be in Fayetville, Arkansas to protest the Wal-Mart annual shareholders meeting, an event which will feature at least eight shareholder resolutions — all of which the Wal-Mart board of directors opposes. According to the anti Wal — Mart contingent, critics of the company will be in force on June 2-3 to “Take the heat to Wal-Mart’s home territory: Northwest Arkansas.” “Meet other progressives,” the group says, “anti-Wal-Mart activists, and labor folks. Last year, people came from New York, California, and Canada to greet Wal-Mart’s shareholders. The Against the Wal Coalition is organizing a march through downtown Fayetteville. The march begins with a gathering at Walton Art Center parking lot at 5:00 pm on Thursday, June 2. We would like to start the march up Dickson St by 5:30 pm- in order to arrive at the town square for a 6:00 pm press conference. Our Message to Wal-Mart: – Start treating the communities you occupy with respect and be a responsible employer by paying your employees a living wage and offering affordable health insurance to their families. – We also ask that Wal-Mart negotiate Community Benefits Agreements wherever they build to ensure that employees are paid living wages, local citizens will be hired to work, affordable housing will be available, and the environment will be protected. Friday, June 3: Wake up bright and early at 5 am to greet the Bentonville Behemoth’s shareholders at Bud Walton Arena at 6 am with a good old fashioned picket line!” Inside Bud Walton arena, shareholders resolutions will be voted down at the Annual Meeting, including one offered by the Sheet Metal Workers National Pension Fund, dealing with executive compensation; a resolution from the United Methodist Church regarding a company “sustainability” report; a third resolution to study whether “there is an equity compensation glass ceiling at Wal-Mart”; a resolution by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to produce a political contributions report; a resolution from the Sisters of Charity in New Jersey regarding an equal employment opportunity report; etc. The Wal-Mart Board of Directors responds in opposition to each of these resolutions, and none will be seriously debated. These shareholders would perhaps get greater satisfaction by dumping their Wal-Mart stock entirely. The United Methodist Church, for example, owns nearly a million shares of Wal-Mart stock. The Amalgamated Bank of New York, which has a shareholders resolution calling for an independent board of directors, owns 1.6 million shares. These institutional investors should drop their Wal-Mart stock and find more socially-responsible investments.
For more information on the Annual Meeting protests, contact the Againstthewal Coalition in Fayetteville, Arkansas at [email protected] , or check out their website at www.againstthewal.net.