June 3, 2011

Advisory: Bangladeshi Labor Leader to Present New York City Pension Fund Proposal at Walmart Shareholder Meeting

WHO: Kalpona Akter, a Bangladeshi labor leader and former garment worker

WHAT: Akter will deliver NYC Pension Funds’ shareholder proposal on behalf of New York City Comptroller John C. Liu at Friday’s shareholders meeting, calling on the company to require reports on suppliers’ compliance with international human and workers rights standards.  Press availability on-site / Photo Opportunity.

WHEN: Friday, June 3, after Akter’s presentation

WHERE: Walmart Shareholders Meeting
Bentonville, AR

Ryan Vanderbilt at 202.285.8227 / rvanderbilt@asgk.com
Jennifer Stapleton at 202.466.1576 / jstapleton@ufcw.org
Matthew Sweeney, Office of NYC Comptroller John C. Liu, 212-669-3747, msweeney@comptroller.nyc.gov

Bentonville, AR–Kalpona Akter, the executive director of the Bangladeshi Center for Worker Solidarity, will deliver a proposal at Walmart’s shareholders meeting Friday, calling on the nation’s largest retailer to require its suppliers around the globe to publish reports on their compliance with international standards of human and workers rights.

The proposal, put forth by New York City Controller John C. Liu and the New York City Pension Funds, will be voted on by Walmart shareholders on Friday. NYC Pension Funds hold Walmart shares valued at more than $300 million.

Akter faces years in prison or even a potential death sentence on unsubstantiated criminal charges of fomenting garment worker unrest in Bangladesh. In 2010, Bangladeshi factory owners, including a Walmart subcontractor, filed a false criminal complaint against Akter, which resulted in her being arrested, imprisoned for 30 days, and tortured.

Factory workers in the country have organized to raise the minimum wage — from 12 cents an hour to 35 cents — but have been met with backlash. Eighteen members of Congress have sent letters on Akter’s behalf to Walmart, five other U.S. retailers, and to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Online press kit at: http://www.ufcw.org/makingchange/shareholder.cfm