Final Walmart Shareholder Vote Tallies Show Growing Calls for Change in Company Leadership, Policies
Posted on June 4, 2012 by jway
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2012
Ten-fold increase in votes against Mike Duke, Rob Walton, Lee Scott
Notable first-year vote in support of associate-shareholder proposal to rein in executive compensation
WASHINGTON – The vote tallies released by Walmart this morning show growing concern and a lack of confidence in the company’s policies and leadership from public shareholders. The percentage of votes against the board increased ten-fold from last year and the proposal to rein in executive compensation received notable support for a first-year proposal. With the Walton family controlling approximately 50% of the company shares, these votes underscore the growing discontent from non-family shareholders, with one in three voting against the board. Director Lee Scott, who was CEO during the time period when the alleged Mexico bribery and cover-up scandal happened, received the largest number of no votes with about 15% of shareholders voting against his re-election (38.8% of non-Walton votes) up from 1% last year. Votes against CEO Mike Duke and Chairman Rob Walton’s increased to more than 13% and 12% (33.1% and 32.4% of the non-Walton votes), up from 0.5% and 0.9% last year.
“The vote shows there is strong support for our calls for Walmart to change,” said Carlton Smith, a long-time Walmart associate and OUR Walmart member who works at store #2110 in Paramount, California. “The three associates and I who introduced proposal #6 did so because it is time to rein in the double standard that this company practices. Executives get bonuses no matter how poorly the company performs. We can make Walmart better for workers, shareholders and the community and we will continue to call for change of company policies that hurt all of us, including understaffing, unpredictable schedules and health insurance plans that cover too little and cost too much.”
“The employee-shareholders who introduced proposal #6 on executive compensation should be very proud today,” said John Marshall, senior capital markets analyst with the United Food and Commercial Workers. “To receive nearly 10% of the vote in the first year a proposal is on the ballot is an excellent result, and over three times the resubmission threshold required to re-file the proposal next year.”
In addition to many members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), prominent pension funds, including the largest one in the U.S., voted their shares for the proposal on greater transparency around executive pay (proposal #6) and against some members of the current board leadership up for re-election, including Walton heir and chairman of the board Rob Walton. The proposal, introduced for the first time this year, received approximately 267 million votes, 22.7% of the shares not held by the Walton family. The pension funds voting in support included the New York Pension Fund, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), with 7.7 million shares, California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which filed a lawsuit in early May regarding the alleged bribery, the Florida State Board of Administration and the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. The Texas Pension Review Board and the Wisconsin Retirement System also announced after the meeting that they voted their shares for proposal #6 and against key board leadership. The Ohio Public Employment Retirement System voted against eight members of the Walmart board.
Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by UFCW, we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, women advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials, and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country. The UFCW and OUR Walmart have provided technical assistance to the four shareholder sponsors of Proposal #6, and we continue to support their efforts to campaign on its behalf.