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WAL-MART EXECUTIVES ACCUSED OF DODGING CHINESE FORCED LABOR ISSUE

WAL-MART EXECUTIVES ACCUSED OF DODGING CHINESE FORCED LABOR ISSUE
 WASHINGTON, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Food and Allied Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO (FAST), today expressed its disappointment with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), management's announcement opposing the creation of a special committee of the board of directors to investigate the company's buying policies and practices in China, with special attention to ensuring that no products purchased directly and/or indirectly from sources in China are produced wholly or in part by forced labor.
 "Wal-Mart management has decided, at this point, not to investigate themselves," stated Robert Harbrant, president of FAST.
 "They are ducking and dodging the issues we raise in our proxy material, but they are not denying the substance of our information and analysis," Harbrant added.
 "Wal-Mart's decision, in our opinion, ignores concerns raised by one of their own officials in an internal memo on forced labor last September," said the FAST president.
 According to FAST, the memo, written by an official of Wal-Mart's Hong Kong Branch, states in part:
 "Where we are at the most risk is with Direct Vendors or Importers who are using State Owned factories for production or with any who are using subcontractors."
 "... I know this is not always easy to detect and since it is a known fact that it is a violation of U.S. law, it is often covertly done."
 This memo came to light during FAST's recent successful litigation in Delaware seeking access to Wal-Mart's shareholder list.
 "Simply having a policy on paper to inspect Chinese factories at least once does not, in our view, face up the realities of the forced labor system in China," Harbrant added.
 FAST's proxy material, mailed on May 21 to all Wal-Mart shareholders of record owning 800 shares or more, quotes an executive of Elan-Polo, a St. Louis-based footwear importer doing business with Wal-Mart, as acknowledging that a Chinese subcontractor:
 " ... is running a shoe factory in a prison, and he opened a factory next door. So then when people get out of prison he hired them in his own factory. That way they were already trained in making shoes. The prison factory is what we call it. ... We are getting shoes made there now, but we are going to be getting more made there for next Spring for K mart and Wal-Mart."
 The proxy material goes on to explain how the State Department's Human Rights Report reveals that one of the Chinese prison system's characteristics is a "staying at prison employment system" under which "some prisoners are denied permission to return to their homes after release and instead are forced to remain and work in the vicinity of the prison."
 Given this practice, in FAST's opinion, Elan-Polo's admission that some of its shoes are manufactured in a factory "next door" to a prison by workers trained in the prison's own shoe factory raises serious questions about whether the Elan-Polo subcontractor in fact employs forced labor in this factory and whether, in turn, shoes made under coercive conditions are being sold to Wal-Mart.
 The FAST proxy material reveals also that among the 314 different products it found Wal-Mart imports directly from China is included a private label line of denim clothing owned by Wal-Mart, named "New Order," which was manufactured by Shanghai Garments, a state-owned enterprise. FAST cites information that denim fabric is produced within the Chinese prison system.
 "Recent actions by Levi Strauss and Sears underscore the seriousness of the concern that forced labor goods from China are entering U.S. supplies," Harbrant said.
 "At the same time, Levi Strauss and Sears have shown that the practice of purchasing forced labor goods -- directly or indirectly, unwittingly or not -- is not a matter of 'business as usual' warranting no special response," he added.
 "We think Wal-Mart executives simply do not want to report the results of any investigation to their shareholders," said Harbrant.
 -0- 5/28/92
 /NOTE: Copies of the FAST proxy material, the Wal-Mart Hong Kong Branch memo and documents on forced labor in China are available upon request./
 /CONTACT: Jeffrey Fiedler of the Food and Allied Service Trades Department, 202-737-7200, ext. 205/
 (WMT) CO: Food and Allied Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO; Wal-Mart
 Stores, Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: RET SU:


IH-DC -- DC024 -- 4912 05/28/92 16:17 EDT
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Date:May 28, 1992
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