Independent news has never been so important.

Did you know that you can get Democracy Now! delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! Don't worry, we'll never share or sell your information.

Activists Raise Bangladeshi Factory Safety, Worker-CEO Pay at Wal-Mart Shareholders Meeting

HeadlineJun 10, 2013

The annual meeting of the retail giant Wal-Mart was held in Arkansas on Friday amidst protests from activists and striking workers. Around 100 Wal-Mart workers took part in a national caravan to protest what they allege to be illegal retaliation against those seeking to change company practices on wages, worker safety and unions. Inside the meeting, shareholders and their proxies were offered a brief window to present non-binding resolutions. The measures were all defeated because the founding Walton family still owns more than half the company’s stock. Kalpona Akter, a workers’ rights activist from Bangladesh, urged Wal-Mart to drop its rejection of new safety standards proposed in the aftermath of the Dhaka building collapse that killed over 1,100 workers in April. Janet Sparks, a Louisiana Wal-Mart employee and member of the group OUR Walmart, drew applause from the crowd of thousands, including many of her colleagues, when she raised the plight of struggling U.S. workers and criticized CEO Mike Duke’s $20.7 million paycheck.

Janet Sparks: “We all know that times are tough for many of our customers. But I want you to know that times are tough for many Wal-Mart associates, too. We are stretching our paychecks to pay our bills and support our families. … So when I think about the fact that our CEO, Mike Duke, made over $20 million last year — more than 1,000 times the average Wal-Mart associate — with all due respect, I have to say, I don’t think that’s right.”

Although some activists made it inside the meeting, a number were kept away after Wal-Mart won restraining orders against protesters and labor groups.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Top