Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a news conference on better wages for workers, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

'Sick and Tired of Being Paid Poverty Wages,' Walmart Workers Invite Bernie Sanders to Press Their Case at Shareholder Meeting

"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."

Jessica Corbett

Walmart workers seeking a seat on the company's board invited Sen. Bernie Sanders, a longtime advocate for higher wages and better labor conditions, to present their shareholder proposal at the retail giant's annual meeting next month.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Independent senator from Vermont and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate will attend Walmart's meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas on June 5 to advocate for the hourly workers behind the request. The proposal was filed by Cat Davis, a company employee and leader of labor rights group 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," said Davis, who explained that she asked Sanders to present the proposal because of his history of backing workers' demands for higher wages and paid sick leave.

In November, Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced the Stop WALMART Act, which would ban major U.S. corporations from buying back their own stock if they don't pay workers $15 an hour plus benefits. They have not yet reintroduced the bill in the current session of Congress.

On Tuesday, the senator told Post that "workers are sick and tired of being paid poverty wages, while the Walton family is worth over $170 billion."

"These workers need and deserve a seat at the table," Sanders added. "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."

Per a Post review of company filings, Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon was paid $23.6 million in 2018, while the median salary for a company employee was about $22,000.

Despite support from Sanders, the newspaper noted that the proposal put forth by workers likely won't pass.

Walmart shareholders have voted down every employee proposal in company history, according to United for Respect. The Walton family owns about half of the company's shares, meaning it has considerable control over votes.

A spokeswoman for Walmart said the company would not comment on [the] proposal until it was formally presented at the meeting.

A Walmart spokesperson, in a statement, said that "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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senators Set to Leave Town for 10-Day Recess Without Action on Gun Violence Crisis

"How many more children, mothers, and fathers need to be murdered in cold blood before the Senate has the guts to ban assault weapons and take on the NRA?" asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo