Following alleged bribery scandal Wal-Mart shareholders to vote against five directors, citing firm's past refusal to provide oversight to prevent labor abuses

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Author: Silvia Ribeiro, El País [Costa Rica]

El…New York Times…publicó…que Walmart pagó 24 millones de dólares en sobornos, para construir tiendas y dominar el mercado en México. Altos ejecutivos de Walmart conocían los casos…y lo ocultaron…[pero] fraguaron una investigación contra el denunciante…Ante la mala publicidad…la empresa [afirma] que…[emprenderá] investigaciones…Walmart…[p]ractica una notoria política antisindical…[y] logró bajar significativamente los salarios medios de toda la industria. Más de 60 por ciento de sus trabajadores en Estados Unidos no tiene cobertura médica y la cifra es mayor en países del Sur…[por lo que] ha acumulado…demandas…[por abusos] laborales: despidos injustificados, discriminación de discapacitados y de género, trabajo infantil, falta de cobertura de salud…empleo de trabajadores indocumentados, agresión contra vendedores fuera de sus locales…

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Article
1 May 2012

New York Pension Funds to Challenge Wal-Mart

Author: Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times [USA]

Concerned about Wal-Mart’s reported cover-up of bribery in its Mexico operations, leaders of New York City’s pension funds said Monday they would vote their 4.7 million company shares against five directors standing for re-election to the retailer’s board at its annual shareholder meeting next month....[T]hey were taking action against the Wal-Mart directors because their previous efforts to persuade the board to increase its oversight of legal and regulatory practices...were unsuccessful. In 2005...after reports that Wal-Mart had hired undocumented immigrants and violated child labor laws in three states, a group of institutional investors...asked the company’s board to hire an independent firm to review its regulatory controls and report findings to shareholders...[T]he group’s request for a review was rebuffed. “In its relentless drive for profit and expansion, Wal-Mart has paid millions to settle charges that it violated child labor laws and exploited immigrants,” ...[John Liu, New York City Comptroller] said ...“Now we learn that not only did Wal-Mart allegedly bribe its way through Mexico, but may have tried to cover up the corruption..." Wal-Mart declined to comment.

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Article
25 April 2012

Walmart Investors Voice Deep Concerns over Bribery Allegations

Author: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility...are dismayed by recent reports in the New York Times alleging systemic bribery and corruption to facilitate the rapid expansion of their retail operations in Mexico...In a 1999 letter to Walmart management that was endorsed by nearly 400 organizations including institutional investors, NGOs and academics, the group emphasized their concerns that Walmart’s global expansion and financial performance goals would “leave the door open for potential abuses.”...Said David Schilling, ICCR’s Program Director for Human Rights and Resources, “As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart influences the way business is done and that has an enormous impact on local economies and communities...We hope that in its rush to establish a dominant market position Walmart hasn’t placed its commitments to ethics, oversight and transparency in jeopardy”...

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Article
15 April 1999

[DOC] 1999 ICCR Letter to Wal-Mart

Author: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (with more than 320 signatories)

We, the undersigned, are shareholders of Wal-Mart, concerned citizens and consumers...The unparalleled growth of Wal-Mart as an aggressive and competitive global retailer raises serious concerns that the company’s strategic vision to achieve success in the marketplace comes without an ethical standard of measurement on which to base decisions about the company’s support of human rights, a living wage for employees world-wide, a diverse work force with attainable upward mobility in management, respect for Indigenous rights, environmental improvement and transparency, and a commitment to sustainable communities in its service areas. The globalization of the economy has heightened already fierce competition, both here in the U.S. and especially in developing countries, to produce for less and sell for less, at the expense of meeting the basic needs of peoples and communities...

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