Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of Walmart's biggest critics, is crashing the annual meeting of shareholders of the retail giant this year.
Reportedly, Sanders intends to advocate for a proposal that would admit a number of hourly store workers to Walmart's board. The proposal, which contains a policy known as codetermination, was introduced by Cat Davis, a labor rights activist and Walmart employees. Codetermination is the norm in Germany and in certain companies such as Chrysler.
"These workers need and deserve a seat at the table," Sanders told Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post.
Sanders' office did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comments. And Walmart declined to comment on the specifics of Davis' proposal.
"The company will respond to the specific proposals of the shareholders once they are formally presented at our shareholders meeting on June 5," a company spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
At this time, Walmart's board does not have hourly workers. It is packed with high-powered executives, including Walmart heir Rob Walton, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, CEOs of McDonald's and Nextdoor, and former CEOs of PepsiCo, American Airlines and KPMG International.
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Walmart has stated that it offers its employees a lot of space to grow and grow within the company.
"From the beginning, a cornerstone of Walmart's culture has been to engage front-line associates in the management of the company, and we are proud of the fact that 75% of our US administration associates. They began their career as frontline hourly associates, "said a company spokesman. Said in a statement to Business Insider.
But a movement to include hourly workers in corporate boards has been increasingly mentioned in the United States. Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill that "would require corporations to respond to employees," as she wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Its Law of Responsible Capitalism required that 40% of the composition of any corporate board constituted by workers per hour.
Sanders himself has also been at the forefront of the debate, having established himself as one of Walmart's noisiest critics. He has criticized Walmart for everything from the company's permit policy to the immense fortune of the Walton family.
In November, he co-sponsored the Stop Walmart act with Rep. Ro Khanna of California. The legislation would force the retailer to increase its minimum hourly wage to $ 15 or suffer the consequence of being prohibited from buying back shares.
By attending the historic Walmart shareholder meeting, Sanders will take their criticism to the next level, chiding the retailer in Bentonville, Arkansas, in his own backyard.
"If Senator Sanders attends, we hope he addresses his visit not as a stoppage of the campaign, but as a constructive opportunity to learn about the many ways we are working to provide greater economic opportunities, mobility and benefits to our associates, as well as our widely recognized leadership in environmental sustainability, "a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement.