2020 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visitedWednesday for the Walmart Shareholders meeting.
The Senator spoke on behalf of a Walmart associate and demanded retail employees be paid a living wage.
“Last year Walmart made nearly $10 billion in profit, it paid its CEO over 20 million dollars in compensation and it has authorized 20 billion dollars in stock buybacks which will benefit its wealthiest stockholders. Surely with all of that, Walmart can afford to pay its employees a living wage of at least $15 an hour,” said Senator Sanders.
The Democratic presidential hopeful also proposed associates be represented among decision makers with the company. “Walmart should give a voice to its workers by allowing them seats on the board of directors.”
In response to Senator Sander’s request, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Global Governance, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary Rachel Brand said, “while we don’t support this particular proposal, the importance of listening to and investing in our associates was reflected in Doug’s remarks.”
Outside of the meeting, Walmart associates like Dreama Lovett expressed how much she appreciated Senator Sanders for coming to Northwest Arkansas to fight for worker’s rights.”He’s here for the working people and I hope that they grasp what we need and what we want and what thrives to make Walmart a better place and that starts with us.”
In front of a crowd of supporters, Senator Sanders echoed much of what he said when he spoke during the Walmart Shareholders meeting.
He explained how he believes Walmart should be responsible for paying its employees wages and the burden should not fall on the taxpayers. “Many of these Walmart employees are forced to go on government programs like Medicaid or food stamps or public housing subsidized by the taxpayers of this country.”
After the senator spoke, many could be heard chanting “$15 an hour” or “Bernie.”