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  • Bernie Sanders will go to Walmart annual shareholder meeting after the workers' invited him to speak on their behalf.

    Bernie Sanders will go to Walmart annual shareholder meeting after the workers' invited him to speak on their behalf. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 May 2019

Walmart annual shareholders' meeting will be graced by Bernie Sanders on behalf of the Walmart workers fighting for better wage and benefits. 

Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will attend Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting in Arkansas next month after being invited by the workers to speak on their behalf.

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He will speak for an increase in salary and benefit for workers and introduce a measure to give the employees a spot on the company’s board.

“We really want Walmart to think about us — the lowly associates who, behind the scenes, are the ones bringing in the money,” Walmart employee and leader for workers’ rights organization United for Respect, Cat Davis said.

Davis said she has invited Sanders to speak at the meeting because she has supported workers fight for better wage and benefits like paid sick leave.

“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 told Washington Post.

Walmart said in a statement that the company will respond to “specific shareholder proposals once they are formally presented” at the meeting.

“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,” the company said.

“Walmart is not a poor company,” Sanders said. “Workers are sick and tired of being paid poverty wages, while the Walton family is worth over $170 billion.”

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

The annual shareholder meeting of Walmart is a multi-day event where pep rally, pop concerts have become a norm. This time the workers also want someone to represent them, hence they invited Sanders who have been demanding US$15 an hour as wage, seven days of paid sick leave for the Walmart employees.

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