Sanders to speak on behalf of workers at Walmart shareholders meeting

Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is set to speak on behalf of workers at Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The 2020 presidential candidate will attend the meeting in Bentonville, Ark., on June 5 to introduce a proposal that would give hourly Walmart workers a seat on the company’s board and demand improved working conditions.

“These workers need and deserve a seat at the table,” Sanders the Post. “If hourly workers at Walmart were well represented on its board, I doubt you would see the CEO of Walmart making over a thousand times more than its average worker.”

Sanders’s campaign confirmed his appearance at the meeting to The Hill.

{mosads}The proposal would require Walmart to consider its 1.5 million hourly U.S. employees when nominating candidates to its board.

“At a time of deepening racial and economic divide and insecurity, hourly associates can guide a more fair, inclusive and equitable corporate ecosystem that bridges differences,” the proposal says, according to the Post. It was filed by Walmart employee Cat Davis, a leader for workers’ rights organization United for Respect.

“We really want Walmart to think about us — the lowly associates who, behind the scenes, are the ones bringing in the money,” Davis told the Post.

Walmart shareholders have voted down every employee proposal in company history, according to United for Respect.

Walmart has been a frequent target of Sanders, with the Vermont lawmaker pushing a bill last year aimed directly at the company called the Stop Walmart Act.

Introduced by Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) the legislation would require a $15 minimum wage, allow up to 7 days of sick leave, and limit the possible pay for Walmart CEOs and other top staff in relation to those who are paid the least.

Walmart told The Hill in a statement the company would respond to the proposal once it is formally introduced.

“The company will respond to specific shareholder proposals once they are formally presented at our June 5 shareholders meeting,” it said in a statement.

“If Senator Sanders attends, we hope he will approach his visit not as a campaign stop, but as a constructive opportunity to learn about the many ways we’re working to provide increased economic opportunity, mobility and benefits to our associates — as well as our widely recognized leadership on environmental sustainability,” Walmart added.

Tags Bernie Sanders Ro Khanna Walmart workers rights

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