The International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Fund wants the next chair of Walmart to be independent of the Walton family. Current Chairman Rob Walton, son of company founder Sam Walton does not. The Teamsters took their case to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the SEC agreed that the matter should come to a vote in at the company's annual meeting in June.
Wal-Mart had argued that the proposal, submitted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Fund, should be omitted because it was vague in its standard of independence. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rejected that argument, according to a letter from the agency delivered to the fund sponsoring the proposal on Friday. In its ruling SEC attorney Luna Bloom wrote that the proposal was not "so inherently vague or indefinite" that shareholders and the company would not be able to determine "what actions or measures the proposal requires."
That is all well and good, but given that the Walton family controls a majority of the votes, and I think the chance of a defection unlikely, what is the real point here?
The Teamsters fund has argued that a chairman without ties to the Walton family and who was independent of management would help improve oversight. It cited ongoing investigations into allegations of bribery in Mexico among the issues that illustrated the need for change. The independent chairman proposal was supported by 15.4 percent of the vote in 2014, short of the 20 percent to 30 percent threshold that governance experts say can generally prompt a board to seriously consider an issue or take action. But excluding the Walton block of stock, the measure got 40 percent of the "independent" vote, up from 36 percent in 2013.
OK. Fine. 40 percent of the independent vote, a minority of the minority. Is this harassment? Payback? Do the teamsters have a real goal here, or are they just jerking off?

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