WALMART IN 2012:
- ALLEGED BRIBERY AND INTERNAL COVER-UP
- FIRST-EVER STRIKES
- TRAGEDIES OVERSEAS AND AT HOME
WALMART’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS: SILENT.
Though it is the largest company in the world, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has had a long history of labor problems, law-breaking and a related image problem that many would argue is second to none among U.S. and global companies. For example, a Business Week cover story last month stated that Walmart has paid over $1 billion dollars in fines and still has major discrimination and wage theft cases pending.
Yet by any measure, 2012 will be remembered as among the worst years for Walmart, as the company was hit by a scandal that resulted in an on-going federal investigation; lawsuits by workers and investors; strikes by retail workers, suppliers and workers at Walmart-controlled warehouses; and tremendous negative press. A recent Advertising Age article reported that the historic Black Friday strikes had more than five times the resonance on social media than recent Walmart PR initiatives on hiring of veterans.
While the Walton family has been focused on growing its inherited fortune at any cost, political and community leaders are calling on Walmart’s board of directors to intervene. But the Board, including many high-profile business leaders, like Silicon Valley investor Jim Breyer, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, and Goldman Sachs board member Michele Burns, has remained silent.