BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Democratic candidate for president U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is honored to be invited by Walmart workers to attend the company's annual shareholders meeting in Northwest Arkansas.
The presidential candidate will head to Bentonville to introduce a shareholders' proposal to give Walmart workers a seat on the company's board, according to The Washington Post.
Walmart workers are sick and tired of being paid poverty wages, while the Walton family is worth over $170 billion. I’m honored to have been invited by Walmart workers to demand they have a seat on the company’s board. https://t.co/hIYWI3hSbw
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 21, 2019
The request to add Walmart workers to the company's board would require the retailer to consider its over one million hourly U.S. employees when nominating candidates to its board, the Post reported.
Representative Robin Lundstrum who represents parts of Northwest Arkansas said Senator Sanders coming here will be an experience for him. She said Walmart and capitalism go hand in hand.
“Walmart has done more to lift people out of poverty and set the example for good ole capitalism. They`ve helped a lot of people get great jobs. They might want to take notes before they tell Walmart how to do their job,” she said.
Josh Mahony who is vying for Senator Tom Cotton`s seat said it`s exciting anytime a presidential candidate comes to the natural state. He said he`s very proud of Walmart and loves what they`ve done for our state and country.
“The idea of having one of the associates represented on the board directly is a great idea. I think it feeds into the spirit that Walmart has been moving towards where they`ve tried to keep all their associates in line with everything they do,” he said.
5NEWS has reached out for comment from the Sanders' campaign but has not received a response yet.
Walmart said in a statement it expects to hear the proposal at its shareholder meeting:
"The company will respond to specific shareholder proposals once they are formally presented at our June 5 shareholders 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 2019 shareholders meeting is set for June 5-7 in Rogers.
The event has drawn protest to the area for workers rights over the years.
Sanders, an unrelenting critic of Walmart's treatment of its hourly workers, told The Washington Post "These workers need and deserve a seat at the table. 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."
Walmart counters Sanders' criticism by pointing to investments employees that include expanded paid time off, increased wages and more benefits.
"Since the beginning, a cornerstone of Walmart’s culture has been engaging frontline associates in the management of the company, and we’re proud of the fact that 75% of our U.S. management associates began their career as frontline hourly associates," the company said.