Friday headline roundup

Walmart’s dirty secret (New York Post, 6/11/2014)

A final tally of votes from Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting held last week also showed unprecedented opposition against key directors, including Chairman Rob Walton, who saw 29 percent of independent voters opposed to his re-election. A full 40 percent of shares not controlled by the founding Walton family voted that Walton be replaced by an independent chairman. Last week, Walmart appeared to thumb its nose at that proposal by appointing Walton’s son-in-law as his heir apparent to helm the board. “It’s déjà vu all over again in terms of high votes against directors and, unfortunately for Walmart’s shareowners, the board’s cynical response,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, whose city pension funds voted against 6 of Walmart’s 14 directors.

My Life on the Walmart Treadmill (Huffington Post, 6/10/2014)

I’m caught in the neverending cycle of the working poor: I work because I need to support myself but the work I do at Walmart doesn’t provide enough means in order for me to support myself, nor does it offer any relief from my plight nor any progression from it. I’m not an underachieving worker either. I am a cashier and I’m really good at it too. In my first six months, my scans per hour were the highest in my entire district and I even won a cashier rodeo, beating out the best cashiers in the district, winning $100 for a store-wide pizza party — but we never had the party. There was a point in time when I was training to become the customer service manager as well. However, after close to six months of “training” — often doing this job all by myself — I wasn’t offered the position yet I was still scheduled to work as the customer service supervisor, and I wasn’t compensated for the work I did.

Former Managers Allege Pervasive Inventory Fraud at Walmart. How Deep Does the Rot Go? (The Nation, 6/11/2014)

Among the big questions raised by these allegations is whether irregular inventory accounting practices are widespread and systemic throughout the company, or the result of a few local rogue operations. And, if the practices are widespread—and not corrected for on the company’s financial statements—are they significant enough to inflate the company’s profitability and, in the process, its stock price?

Wal-Mart Is Family Friendly—at Least to Members of the Walton Family (Businessweek, 6/5/2014)

Yet in some ways, Walmart is still a family business. The Waltons own slightly more than 50 percent of the company, a share that’s gone up in recent years. Rob Walton, Sam’s eldest son, is chairman of the board of directors, a position he’s held since 1992. His brother, Jim, and son-in-law, Gregory Penner, are also on the board. That’s too many Waltons for some shareholders, who want a more independent board and plan to say so at the company’s annual meeting on June 6.

What do you think?