National Leaders React to Walmart’s Announcement of a New CEO

Civil rights groups weigh in on Walmart’s announcement of the company’s change of leadership.

Guadalupe Palma, Director of Warehouse Workers United
“Warehouse workers have repeatedly been exposed to dangerous and illegal working conditions inside Walmart’s contracted warehouses. While Walmart has acknowledged the poor working conditions and its own responsibility to ensure all supply chain workers are safe, it has failed to act.

“The question to ask about Walmart’s new CEO Doug McMillon is will he continue to pay lip service to serious issues in Walmart’s supply chain or will he act to enforce the company’s own standards and ensure that all contractors follow the law, treat workers with dignity and pay them enough to live above poverty?”

Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice
“Walmart should be ashamed of the vast labor mismanagement under CEO Mike Duke. From the low wages at Walmart stores to dangerous working conditions in warehouses and the inexcusable safety conditions in factories in Bangladesh and other countries, as the world’s largest employer, Walmart can and should do better to create good jobs and safe working conditions.
“Mr McMillon has a huge challenge on his hands, but there are countless people here in the US and around the globe ready to work with him to make sure that improving working conditions are a number one priority. “

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org
“It’s clear that Walmart is on the wrong track, and this change in leadership is an opportunity for Walmart to begin treating its employees with dignity and respect. More and more Americans of all backgrounds are tired of big, profitable companies like Walmart taking advantage of its workers, when the company should be working with us to help improve the economy.

“As more visibility is given to Walmart’s deplorable practices, Mr. McMillon has a chance to be part of the solution — and celebrated for it — or he can also continue the same tired and greedy practices that will put the company at greater odds with its associates and customers. We applaud and will continue to support the brave workers, good people, and organizations who care about human rights and have stood up to this corporate giant.”

Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women
“Walmart is on the wrong track, and it’s about time the company had a change in leadership. We are outraged by the way that Walmart has been short-changing its employees, especially women, systematically denying women opportunities for promotion and paying poverty wages without adequate benefits.

“We are calling on Mr. McMillon to make it his first priority to improve this sordid situation. Our country is tired of big companies like Walmart exploiting its workers in order to show big profits and pay exorbitant CEO salaries. Making a decent profit is one thing; profiteering off the backs of hard working employees is quite another.”

Tiffany Beroid, Walmart Worker and OUR Walmart Member

“Walmart has been heading in the wrong direction, and it’s a testament to the pressure the company is feeling that they’re changing leadership at this moment.

“We’re happy to see Mr. McMillon acknowledge the hard work of associates in his statement this morning, and we hope that this appreciation translates into improving jobs for Walmart workers. Americans nationwide are looking to Walmart to improve jobs and strengthen our economy, and Mr. McMillon has an opportunity to be a leader in moving Walmart in the right direction, not just in offering more empty promises. We sincerely hope that Mr. McMillon will answer the country’s calls for Walmart to publicly commit to paying $25,000 a year, providing full-time work and ending its illegal retaliation against its own employees.”

Stacy Mitchell, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance
“It’s stunning to see a retailer announce a leadership change on the eve of the most crucial four weeks of the year. This sudden move seems to confirm just how deep Walmart’s troubles are.

“Never before has Walmart faced such widespread public criticism for its poverty-level wages. Its retaliation against workers who speak out has sparked an unprecedented series of strikes by employees. It’s being investigated for bribery and other illegal behavior. Its much-promoted sustainability initiatives were recently exposed as little more than greenwashing by leading environmental organizations.

“All of this comes amid a series of earnings reports that suggest that Walmart’s business model has come back to haunt it. Decades of pushing down wages, driving out small businesses, and forcing manufacturing overseas has left too many American families struggling.

“To turn things around, Walmart will have to do more than just change leaders. It will have to fundamentally change how it operates.”

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

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