Wal-Mart Opposes Kennedy Bill

April 2, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which provides jobs for 900,000 US workers, 650,000 of whom are covered by the group's pension plan, opposes Senator Edward Kennedy's (D-Massachusetts) pension-reform bill.

The company, America’s largest non-government employer, argues that a proposed set of corporate-accountability regulations would force it to vastly reduce its worker retirement savings accounts, possible sounding a death knell for the plan, according to a report from the Associated Press.


 “We fear that many of the current proposals would have unintended consequences or create burdens on plan administrators far in excess of the protections conferred on plan participants,” Debbie Davis-Campbell, vice president for retirement and savings plans at Wal-Mart, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee.

According to the report, Wal-Mart opposes elements of Kennedy’s bill, which has won committee approval in the Senate and is to be voted upon by the full Chamber.

The bill would require companies to:

  • diversify investment opportunities for employees
  • include workers on pension boards
  • notify workers each time an executive makes a large stock transaction.

But Wal-Mart believes that the changes would be too costly to implement and may not benefit employees as much as proponents believe.
The AP reports that Wal-Mart lobbyists have been meeting with members of Congress and their staffs, notably Senators Tim Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas). Each  sits on a panel that crafts pension legislation.