Wal-Mart shareholders meet

John Dimsdale Jun 2, 2006
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Wal-Mart shareholders meet

John Dimsdale Jun 2, 2006
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SCOTT JAGOW: In a couple hours, Wal-Mart shareholders kick off their annual meeting in Bentonville, Ark. The stockholders are supposed to vote on a half-dozen resolutions. None of them is expected to pass. But as John Dimsdale reports, the activists in the bunch think they’re making some headway.

JOHN DIMSDALE: The resolutions range from forcing more equitable salaries to disclosure of political contributions to more humane slaughter of poultry sold at Wal-Mart stores.

Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says unions and other shareholder activists have gone after Wal-Mart because of its size.

HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ: They’ve become a target, just like Microsoft was. When you’re big and powerful, people try and beat you down. That’s just the way it works.

But Tom Keegel of the Teamsters union, which is sponsoring today’s resolution on political contributions, says vigilant shareholders make the company a better investment.

TOM KEEGEL: We feel it’s very important that there is corporate governance, responsibility in the board room. And as shareholders to major corporations, we have become very active with respect to resolutions.

Wal-Mart’s board of directors is recommending no votes on all of the shareholder resolutions.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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