Wal-Mart Stores – Report on the Employee Free Choice Act Lobbying Activities and Expenses (2009)
Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn
Shareholders of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (the “Company”) request that the Board of Directors prepare a report by September 30, 2009, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, describing the Company’s lobbying activities and expenses relating to the Employee Free Choice Act, together with a description of the lobbying activities and expenses of any entity supported by the Company, during the 110th Congress.
The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800) would modernize the National Labor Relations Act by streamlining the process through which employees form, join, or assist labor organizations as well as providing for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts. It was designed to remedy the well-documented problem of income disparity in the United States by giving employees a voice at work and to reduce the growing number of labor law violations committed by employers each year. According to Human Rights Watch, “[F]reedom of association is a right under severe, often buckling pressure when workers in the United States try to exercise it.”
The Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that one in five employers whose workers are trying to form a union fire at least one employee. American Rights at Work reported that 49 percent of employers studied had threatened to close or relocate all or part of the business if workers elected to form a union.
President-elect Barack Obama supports enactment of the Employee Free Choice Act and it was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, 241-185, on March 1, 2007. It was filibustered in the United State Senate, despite gaining majority support.
Our Company has been mobilizing its U.S. store managers and department supervisors to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. According to the Wall Street Journal, “thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.” (WSJ, 8/1/2008)
Since the twin issues of income disparity and the Employee Free Choice Act have become major public policy issues, the Congress has repeatedly reviewed the merits of amending and modernizing the National Labor Relations Act. The 111th Congress and the President will again consider the merits of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Shareholders of the Company need comprehensive information on the Company’s lobbying and related activities concerning the Employee Free Choice Act to determine how the Company is protecting and enhancing shareholder value with respect to the rights of employees.