By Ilana Novick
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
Walmart shareholders got a surprising guest at their annual meeting Wednesday in Bentonville, Ark.: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The presidential candidate demanded that the company pay employees at least $15 an hour, and advocated for a proposal to allow hourly workers to join Walmart’s board of directors.
Politico reports that Sanders was there as a proxy for Cat Davis, a Walmart employee and leader of United for Respect, a worker advocacy group that devised the proposal.
In a three-minute speech, Sanders blasted the income disparity between Walmart’s highly paid CEO and owners, and its workers, who Sanders said make “starvation wages.” According to Politico, he told shareholders:
Walmart is the largest private employer in America and is owned by the Walton family, the wealthiest family in the United States, worth approximately $175 billion. And yet despite the incredible wealth of its owner, Walmart pays many of its employees starvation wages, wages that are so low that many of these employees are forced to rely on government programs like food stamps, Medicaid and public housing in order to survive.