Walmart associates, including employee-shareholders, and community activists have been confronting members of the Walmart board of directors in protests in the past several weeks, with escalating protests happening this week in the days leading up to the Walmart shareholders meeting Friday. The protests, which will include confrontations with Walmart board members Rob Walton, Greg Penner, and others, are taking place as major Walmart shareholders and advisory groups call for the removal of key Walmart board members and new transparency on executive pay through proposal #6. Also last week, current Walmart board member Michele Burns faced not only a crowd of protestors outside, but tough questions from Goldman Sachs shareholders inside its annual meeting last week in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Burns is also a Goldman Sachs board member.)
“Walmart board members should leave the protected confines of the boardroom and ‘hang out’ with OUR Walmart members to hear our concerns about what is happening at the company,” said Barbara Collins, a Walmart associate at store #2418 in Placerville, California. “My fellow Associates want to be a part of the solution and fix the problems that exist at Walmart. The company’s executives haven’t been forthright about what is happening inside the company and board members might benefit from hearing new perspectives.”
This week, Walmart Associates and community leaders will confront Walmart board members in multiple locations around the country:
· Wednesday, May 30th – New York City action on Rob Walton
· Thursday, May 31st – Parade to Walmart’s Washington, D.C. headquarters
· Thursday, May 31st – Chicago action on Linda Wolf
· Friday, June 1st – National day of action to coincide with Walmart shareholders meeting
Read the full press release from Making Change at Walmart.
Walmart’s ‘bad neighbor’ actions in South Africa -
Walmart continues to try to claw its way into the New York City marketplace, but in 2012, its efforts to penetrate other markets have been creating the headlines.
The New York Times has reported that Walmart paid bribes worth a staggering $24 million to win the permits it needed to expand quickly in Mexico, then shut down an internal investigation in an attempt to cover it up.
And an ongoing story in South Africa shows that Walmart’s indifference to workers and the community is constant worldwide. Read the full column by RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.
NY Post: It’s good to be Goldman -
Walmart Free NYC blasted Goldman Sachs last week for naming Michele Burns as its audit committee chair even though she was on Walmart’s board in 2005 and 2006 when the company was covering up a bribery scandal in Mexico. Read the full story.
NY Post: Goldman’s audit head worry -
Walmart faced “rowdy shareholders” at its annual meeting last week as the director named to head the bank’s powerful audit committee was caught in the middle of Walmart’s bribery scandal in Mexico. Read more.
NY Post: Walmart faces call for entire board's ouster -
Throw the bums out!
A big Walmart shareholder says it will vote next week to oust the retailer’s entire board in the wake of the company’s sensational bribery scandal in Mexico.
That means chairman Rob Walton, CEO Mike Duke and former CEO Lee Scott, as well as two New York-based directors — human-resources exec Michele Burns and investor Christopher Williams. Read more.
New York Times: Bribery Case at Wal-Mart May Widen -
As Wal-Mart reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday, it suggested in a regulatory filing that the scope of an internal investigation into bribery accusations had widened beyond the retailer’s subsidiary in Mexico.
The company reported that the audit committee of the Wal-Mart Stores board was examining possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and “other alleged crimes or misconduct in connection with foreign subsidiaries, including Wal-Mart de México.” It was the first public disclosure by the company that the internal inquiry could involve additional subsidiaries, though none was named.
Wal-Mart sued for 'all black people must leave' prank -
A black man is suing Wal-Mart for $1 million in damages, claiming he suffered emotional distress while he was shopping at a store in Washington Township, N.J. On March 14, 2010, a voice came over the PA system announcing: “Attention Wal-Mart customers: All black people leave the store now.” A manager quickly took control of the microphone and a 16-year-old boy was later arrested for the prank. Donnell Battie’s lawyers claim the megastore was negligent and reckless in allowing the incident to occur, and that he suffered from a number of psychological disorders as a result.
Walmart At 50: Website Serves As A Forum For Critics Of All Stripes -
Nearly three weeks after Walmart was accused of bribing government officials in Mexico, a new website, Walmart at 50, is airing all manner of grievances about the company. Launched by labor groups Making Change at Walmart and Our Walmart in connection with the company’s 50th anniversary, the site allows anyone with access to a computer to share their own photos, videos and Walmart-related stories. “Change Walmart to Rebuild America!” the site declares.
But while most of the testimonials are what one would expect on a labor organization’s site (Walmart workers and union members deride the company’s low pay and lack of benefits), the site is also peppered with commentary from shoppers griping about prices and critics of goods made overseas — plus plenty of photos of pets and flowers.
Although the activists launched the Walmart at 50 website and the road trip before word of the bribery allegations broke, “[The scandal] affirmed the project in our mind,” Schlademan said.
Along the way, team members have stopped to project their collected videos on the sides of Walmart buildings for as long as store officials have allowed. This weekend, they will work with activist group Walmart Free NYC to broadcast them on the sides of prominent buildings in New York City’s five boroughs. The road trip will hit several more cities before concluding next month in Bentonville, Ark., where Walmart will hold its shareholder meeting.
Severe Human Rights Violations at Food Processing Facilities Result in Global Labor Issues for Walmart -
Sign the petition and tell Walmart to address abuses in the supply chain!
Last week thousands of workers at two different Thai food processing facilities protested their extremely poor working conditions. Both facilities, Phattahana Seafood and Vita Food Factory, are suppliers to Walmart stores across the US. Disturbing reports coming out of the region indicate that the questionable treatment of workers extends well-beyond the US border and signals deeper global issues.
Early reports indicate a series of severe human and worker rights violations, including confiscation of passports and conditions that appear to fit the definition of human trafficking and debt bondage.
In response to these egregious violations, Making Change at Walmart sent a letter to Walmart’s Ethical Sourcing director calling for the immediate defense of migrant workers in the food processing facilities. The letter detailed violations being committed by two separate plants, including one fruit (primarily pineapple) processor and one seafood (primarily shrimp) producer. Phattahan Seafood Factory may be holding as many as 2,000 confiscated passports belonging to migrant workers from Myanmar and Cambodia. A number of the workers have started to illegally flee the plant to return to their country despite lack of documentation.
Excerpt from the letter:
As the largest grocer in the world and the largest importer of shrimp in the United States, Walmart has a responsibility to call for an end to this treatment of workers and do more to ensure that this treatment is not occurring in other supplier factories.
Since the release of Walmart’s Global Responsibility Report on Monday, environmental groups have raised questions about a number of items that may have been overlooked in the report. To be sure, these latest accusations fly in the face of claims of responsible and sustainable sourcing.