A storm is brewing at Walmart as a group of employees has asked the shareholders to not re-elect Rob Walton as the chairman of the world's largest distributor. There was already very little chance of that happening anyway.
OUR Walmart demands independent chairman
The remarkable letter against Rob Walton comes from OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect at Walmart), which is a labour union-supported group of employees and shareholders active in three separate levels of the organization.
OUR Walmart believes the concern has faced one scandal after another and explicitly refers to the Californian environmental breaches, the Mexico bribe scandal, complaints about low wages and harsh working conditions and Walmart's questionable involvement in Bangladesh.
That is why OUR Walmart has implored shareholders to refrain from keeping Rob Walton on as chairman at the upcoming meeting of 6 June, because he has been "chairman of the board during the entire period before, during, and after the alleged bribery, initial investigation, alleged cover-up, and subsequent investigations."
Over 50 % of shares in family's hands
It is only a remote possibility that Rob Walton will have to step down as his family, the richest family in America with an estimated value of 140 billion dollars, owns more than half of the company's shares, which means the result is already clear.
Despite all this, the family's patriarch has received an increasing amount of criticism over the past few years during shareholder meetings. When he was re-elected in 2011, 99 % of the non-family shareholders backed him, but only a year later - when the Mexico bribery scandal hit - nearly a third of these shareholders voted against him. Even as recent as last year, when Walmart had to deal with negative publicity because of its wage and labour policy (which included being forced to work on Thanksgiving's day), nearly 22 % of shareholders voted against Rob Walton.