Walmart CEO Replaced: Top Five Things That Should Change
Black Friday wet dream/retail conglomerate Walmart officially announced Monday that CEO and President Mike Duke is stepping down. While it's likely that very little will actually come of this change — Mcmillion has been the CEO of Walmart International for a while now, and Duke is staying on as chairman, anyway — we at Bustle like to indulge in a little fantasy every once in a while. So let's imagine what would happen if someone decided to run Walmart a little ... differently. Here are the top five changes we'd want to see to the famously-skeezy company:
1. A Major Cut to the CEO's Absurd Pay Rate and Retirement Package
The previous Walmart CEO Duke was getting paid a swanky $23.15 million — 1,034 times the median wage of a Walmart employee. The average Walmart worker makes roughly $22,400 a year: that's significantly less than the poverty level for a four-person family. If you do the math, it would take your average full-time Walmart worker (who makes $12.67 an hour) over 785 years — yah, YEARS — to earn the same amount Duke earns in one.
Adding insult to injury, Duke made 14 percent more in 2012 than he did the year before. Oh, and Duke's exit package? $113 million, almost 6,200 times the average worker's retirement package, which is roughly $18,303.
2. Pay Workers Enough To Buy Their Own Thanksgiving Dinner
It would be pretty great if Walmart employees were making, you know, better-than-horrific salaries. To spew some more figures at you, Walmart's sales associates make just $8.81 per hour, too little to survive without public benefits. (ThinkProgress estimates that, at a single store, workers will consume about $1 million in Medicaid and food stamps.)
The pay rate is so epically awful that, just last week, several Walmarts (starting with one in Ohio) organized Thanksgiving food drives for their own workers. The stores literally had bins in an employee-only section underneath signs that read: “Please donate food items here so our Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner."
3. Stop Cracking Down on the Opposition
It's pretty well-publicized that Walmart employees who dissent in any way — go on strike, try to form a union, generally disagree with the Walmart overlords —tend to end up fired or disciplined. Just this summer, for instance, 20 employees who joined a strike by the labor group OUR Walmart were let go, and over 50 were in some other way disciplined. The National Labor Relations Board found that Walmart retailers in thirteen states have illegally threatened or fired their employees who went on strike.
4. Don't fire hero employees
One of the most famous cases of a Walmart employee being fired for absurd reasons was that of Kristopher Oswald, a Michigan man who was let go for helping a woman who was being assaulted by her ex-boyfriend on store premises. Oswald tells it like this:
“I observed a person on a vehicle, kinda like ‘Die Hard’ mode, holding onto the hood. But then I saw who the driver was: It was this tiny, little blonde girl who got out and tried to force this person off of her vehicle. And she’s screaming, and he jumped off the car, grabbed her by the arms … and forced her against the car.”
Oswald stepped in, saved the woman, and was attacked in the process. Although he was praised by the sheriff's office for coming to the woman's aid, Walmart saw the intervention as "a violation of company policy" — and fired him. Though Walmart has since offered to hire him back, it was too little, too late. Oswald refused.
5. The new CEO should probably be a woman
A female CEO of Walmart could make a gigantic difference — the retailer has a history of alleged sexual discrimination against women, in spite of having a largely female sales workforce (72 percent, to be exact).
A class action suit filed against Walmart for discriminating against women was dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2011. (The court decided the women filing the case were too many in number and varied to constitute a class-action suit — it did not determine Walmart wasn't discriminating against them.) The women in the suit claimed that female workers at Walmart get fewer promotions and raises, as evidenced by the fact that women make up only four percent of district managers.
According to data from 2001, female employees also earned $5,200 less per year on average than male workers did: women who were making an average of $50,000 were paid $14,500 less per year than men in the same position.
Unfortunately, everything on this wishlist is probably not going to happen. As a senior retail analyst at Telsey Advisory Group told CNBC: "I would bet that very little would be different. I think that's part of why the stock's barely moving at this point. It's going to be a seamless transition."
Ah well. A girl can dream.