Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers International labor union, is launching a campaign ahead of Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, protesting the retailer’s recent decision to exclude workers from the meeting.
“For the first time in Walmart shareholder meeting history, Walmart’s top 1 percent has changed the rules to exclude Walmart workers from being present during business discussions on wages and other proposals that affect them on a daily basis, further silencing the voice of its workers,” says MCAW Director Randy Parraz.
In a departure from Walmart’s previous shareholder meetings, Walmart executives are removing shareholder comments and voting on proposals from the “associate celebration,” instead scheduling the business portion to take place at a different date, time and location. Walmart executives also are placing rules on who can attend the business meeting, noting that only associates with shares can be present and that all shareholders must present a photo I.D. and proof of ownership. This move will result in a smaller, more controlled audience during shareholder public comment than in previous years when the business portion took place in front of the main 20,000-plus audience of workers in the Bud Walton arena.
In response to this change, Walmart workers across the country have joined the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) “highlighting Walmart’s low wages, inconsistent and unfair scheduling and insufficient benefits as contributing to systemic poverty in the U.S.,” says MCAW.
MCAW will continue its campaign with a series of statements and digital ads aimed to educate the public, as well as Walmart workers and shareholders, on what it considers Walmart’s censorship of its business meeting.
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