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Walmart moms on strike at Walmart chair Rob Walton's house in Phoenix, AZ.
Walmart workers—workers who are mothers, specifically—are rallying and striking in 20 cities nationwide this week, kicking it off by trying to deliver stories about the struggles they face at work to Rob Walton, the chair of Walmart's board.
Linda Haouska, 52, a mother of two from Illinois who has worked for Walmart for eight and a half years, said her son told her he would forego his prom night because he knew she could not afford to rent him a tuxedo.

“That is no conversation that a mother, especially one working for a company as successful as Walmart, should have with her child,” said Haouska. “We are helping our company make $16bn annual profits, we are helping the Walton family with their [$145] billion.”

This week's strikes come just ahead of Walmart's shareholder meeting, and seek to draw attention yet again to Walmart's appalling labor practices, including poverty wages and retaliation against workers who protest. Walmart faces other pressures ahead of this shareholder meeting, including an ongoing National Labor Relations Board trial centering on Walmart's retaliation against worker activists, as well as a major proxy adviser's criticisms:
[Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc.] also said it is troubled by a string of adjustments to pay targets and plans that together have the effect of insulating executives' pay somewhat from the consequences of Wal-Mart's declining performance. [...]

ISS recommended a "no" vote on Wal-Mart's executive-pay practices and support for a resolution seeking the appointment of an independent chairman. Investors will cast a nonbinding vote on pay and other issues at the June 6 annual meeting. The "say on pay" vote passed overwhelmingly last year, while a call for an independent chairman won roughly 14% of the vote.

Of course, since the Walton family controls Walmart, such challenges have no real chance of passing. But they do create additional pressure on the company and the family.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 11:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No accountability for management thank you! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, spunhard, Game Theory, JeffW, hbk

    "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 03:18:54 PM PDT

  •  Only way WalMart will change (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx, hbk, llywrch

    is if these protests really, truly start to become a thorn in their side. Enough that customers notice, and then shareholders.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:40:30 PM PDT

  •  If you really want to support workers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat

    Stop shopping at Walmart. It drives labor rates down across the globe. It's simple, if you shop at Walmart, Target, etc you are part of the problem.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:46:08 PM PDT

    •  So I should buy all my stuff at Amazon? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      methylin

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:50:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That would be fine and dandy, except in my town... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx, ksuwildkat, llywrch

      That would be fine and dandy, except in my town Walmart is the only game in town, and a lot of other towns, and they know it.

      •  Walmart drives out the small town businesses... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Akskeptic, ksuwildkat

        and adopts none of the small town values. A bad situation overall--except for Walmart executives and the Walton family. My family comes from a small Iowa town--although I now live in a large city (Houston), my two brothers still live in small towns and have personally experienced what you're talking about as well MissouriMatt. It's a real problem.

        I am proud to be able to say that I got the chance to vote for Ann Richards for Governor of Texas, twice!

        by dewtx on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:08:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yup (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llywrch, No Exit, Akskeptic

      I understand its not always possible - been there, lived in that town.  But if you can, shop ANYWHERE but WalMart.  Target might not be perfect, but they are better.  Amazon may not be perfect, but they are better.  

      WalMart's margins are are so thin that even the slightest change will put them in the red.  Once that happens, they are doomed.  When the only thing you can offer is cheap, you can't afford to be anything but cheap.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:07:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't even afford the cake they would allow us ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dewtx

    Can't even afford the cake they would allow us to eat.

  •  Train wreck stock (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch

    Earnings growth is flat at at 1.4% and that is an improvement form last years -2.7%.  5 year return on stock price is 50% - much of that due to a massive buy back program.  $15Billion more just approved with over $38Billion in the last 4 years.  Without that buyback program?  Who knows.  

    Profit margin is 3.3% meaning they have to sell $100 of stuff to make $3.30.  Thats a lot of work for not much return.  With margins that small they can't afford even the slightest changes in expenses.  Well that ship has pretty much sailed.  

    Minimum wage hikes are here or on the way in multiple states.  Cuts to staff are probably costing more money than they are saving.  They need more staff and they are going to have to pay that staff more.  Doesnt take much to eat a 3.3% profit margin.

    Lots of people look at the $16 billion profit and think WalMart is invincible but when you are running a 3.3% margin you are 6.6% away from a $16 billion loss.  

    Cost are going to go up, period.  Full Stop.  Their customers are their customers because of price and not much more.  If they raise prices, they lose customers.  If they don't raise prices, they risk losing money.  This is a recipe for a death spiral.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 06:57:58 PM PDT

  •  Brick by Brick... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch, No Exit

    is how the plutocracy has systematically dismantled the gains of the middle class post Great Depression/WW II, ironically the very source of their riches and power.

    And Brick by Brick is how we fight back, for decades to come, to wrest power back from an Oligarchy bent on allowing greed to destroy their own seed corn (customers) and our planet if necessary to achieve ever greater gains.

    We The People have the right, nay the responsibility, to establish and enforce the rules under which corporations exist and the wealthy conduct themselves in a civil society.

    It may take a Constitutional Convention, or at least a bevy of Constitutional Amendments to override a radical conservative activist Supreme Court. But whatever it takes, not fighting back isn't an alternative.    

     

    "The philosophy of conservatism is inevitably doomed by its adherents' willingness to accept bluster as a sign of character and thick-headed devotion to meaningless symbols as sign of moral fiber." (Albert Einstein)

    by Jim R on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:02:09 PM PDT

  •  I can't fathom the selfish greed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llywrch

    that drives the people like the Waltons and the Kochs. Their massive profits come at the expense of actual people, suffering starving can't even feed their children people.

    What kind of monsters are they? They aren't even human, they are blood sucking gigantic leeches that destroy this nation and its government, aided by greasy palmed politicians that lie to get elected and screw their own constituents as soon as they get paid off.

    Either these idiots start listening or someone's going to show up with the pitchforks. Its only a matter of time.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:07:06 PM PDT

  •  Do you think the Walton family has enough money... (0+ / 0-)

    Do you think the Walton family has enough money that they might not care what happens to Walmart now? If they ride it into the ground their still rich. They can sell off the company to Justin Timberlake and he can create his own chain of MySpace stores.

    •  It depends on where they have put their money (0+ / 0-)

      The unadvoidable truth is that if they're worth billions of dollars, but it's all invested in Walmart stock, when that business tanks, they'll have nothing.

      It takes a bit of brains to realize that one must balance one's investments sensibly. IIRC, Bill Gates had a financial manager whose job was to do just that: sell off his Microsoft stock in small enough chunks to maximize profit while keeping a majority stake, & investing the proceeds in something stable -- US Treasuries. Although Gates was known to invest in biotechnology -- which is an even more speculative investment than high tech.

      But then, Gates is far more intelligent than any one of the Walton clan. I'd bet none of them have thought of diversifying their investments, in case Old Man Walton's business goes bust on them. Beyond their stock, what do they have to their names? Some baubles, their houses, maybe a few million in cash -- which they can be counted on to blow thru surprisingly fast.

      I won't be surprised to read in a generation's time the lot of them are as broke as their store associates.

    •  Dont think so (0+ / 0-)

      *FULL DISCLOSURE - I AM AN APPLE SHAREHOLDER*

      Because of the buy back program the Walton family now holds more than 50% of WalMart stock.

      Buy back programs reduce the number of outstanding shares in the market.  Lets say I have a company and there are 1 million shares on the market worth $10 each.  My company has a "market cap" of $10 million.  Lets also say I own 100K shares personally - 10% of the company.  I announce a buy back program where I am going to buy $1 million of stock.  At $10 a share that buy back removes 100,000 shares from the market.  Now there are only 900,000 shares and under normal market forces my stock price will increase to $11.11 a share to being my market cap back to $10 million.  At the same time my personal holdings now represent 11.11% of the company.  So now I own a larger percentage of the company and each share I own is worth more.  

      Buybacks are great if you think the shares of your company are undervalued.  Apple has been buying back its stock for years because the company leadership felt the market undervalued the company.  When you are running  a 20%+ margin and have so much cash on hand you need a SEC rule change to keep from being reclassified as a bank, that makes sense.  When you have a 3% margin and you are the personal bank of small group of people, it doesnt.  

      I have no idea why the Waltons are buying back stock unless they are thinking of taking the company private so they don't have any meddlesome SEC rules to worry about.  Private companies get away with a lot of crap because they have few disclosure requirements.  I could see the Waltons liking that.  In any case they seem to be putting all their eggs in a WalMart cart which is great.  I think they are heading for a tipping point of epic proportions.  Like losing $20-30billion a year epic.  

      They have very publicly aligned themselves with the most extreme policies of vulture capitalism.  That was good in the Bush years when being an asshole was a virtue.  But they lost control of the beast they fed.  The government safety net they depend on is shrinking at the same time more rational companies are deciding paying workers a bit more makes better business (less turnover, less shrinkage, etc).  Because of their size they are extremely vulnerable to labor and commodity price pressures.  A tiny increase in minimum wage will drive their costs through the roof.  And because of their size every evil act gets magnified.  You can run the best company in the world and have the best hiring practices and still someone is going to have a bad day at work and yell at a customer or dork up something.  Walmart has 2 million employees.  If 1 percent have a bad day once a year thats 20K horror stories a year - 54 a day.  In reality I would guess its about 10X that many and with social media every one is getting 10X the exposure it would have in the '00.  Now you are talking 5K people a day going "WalMart sucks."

      Maybe they will pull the rabbit out of the hat but I don't think so.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 03:48:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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