Following COVID-19 outbreaks, shareholders consider proposal to include workers in board nominations
Harrisburg, PA - Treasurer Torsella today announced that he supported a shareholder proposal to add hourly frontline worker representation to the nominating process for Walmart’s Board of Directors. Upon approval, the proposal, filed by a Walmart associate, would have included hourly associates as director candidates at its annual shareholder meeting.
“Decisions made by the Walmart Board of Directors impacts millions of workers worldwide, and it is critical – particularly during a global pandemic – that those decisions take worker experience and safety into consideration. Giving hourly workers a say in company leadership is long overdue, and would improve long-term shareholder value. Essential workers like grocery clerks or shelf stockers don’t have the privilege of working from home. They’re in the field, working with customers, often unable to keep six-feet of distance between themselves. They deserve a fair say in the decisions that are meant to keep them safe on the job.”
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Walmart’s response to COVID-19 reportedly failed to keep pace with public health guidelines, leading to massive outbreaks in stores and deaths among workers.
Even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns were repeated raised regarding Walmart’s sick leave policy for its associates and its ineligibility for health benefits for part-time workers. A survey by United for Respect found that 45% of Walmart workers said they were likely to continue to come into work even if they felt unwell, posing significant risk of spreading illness to co-workers and customers.
The proposal was also supported by other institutional investors including New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Connecticut Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden.