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New Report Sheds Light on Walmart’s Overseas Tax Havens

Nancy-PayYourFairShareAmericans for Tax Fairness released a new report yesterday that sheds light on Walmart’s placement of at least $76 billion in assets into an elaborate, undisclosed web of 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 offshore tax havens, which may be used to minimize foreign taxes where it has retail operations and avoid U.S. taxes on those foreign earnings.

The report, titled The Walmart Web: How the World’s Biggest Corporation Secretly Uses Tax Havens to Dodge Taxes, shows that the retail giant has made tax havens central to its growing International division, which now accounts for one-third of the company’s profits. Walmart’s network of 78 undisclosed overseas subsidiaries in tax havens have no retail operations and few, if any, employees. Twenty-two of these paper companies are in Luxembourg alone, a country that plays a central role in the company’s tax haven network.

The retail giant has avoided scrutiny of its international tax dodging in the past by declining to disclose its tax haven subsidiaries on Exhibit 21 (“Subsidiaries”) of the company’s annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Companies use tax havens to dodge taxes. It appears that’s the secret game Walmart is playing,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “We are calling on Congress, federal agencies and international organizations to determine if Walmart is skirting the law when it comes to reporting its use of tax havens, using various schemes to dodge taxes, and getting a sweetheart deal from Luxembourg that is the equivalent of illegal state aid. Average Americans and small businesses have to make up the difference when Walmart doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes.”

Walmart Workers Propose Major Reforms at Shareholder Meeting

venanzi shareLast week, following two weeks of events in cities across the country, Walmart workers held a series of public actions at Walmart’s HQ, as well as at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. During the events, Walmart workers called on the company to make immediate changes across an array of issues, including increasing hourly wages and ending workplace intimidation.

“The time has come for Walmart to take real actions to help improve the lives of Walmart workers and their families. It is simply wrong for Walmart to ignore our calls for change and look the other way as hundreds of thousands of hard-working associates continue to struggle to make ends meet. Walmart must change, and it must change now,” said Cindy Murray, a current Walmart associate.

As part of the actions at the shareholder meeting, Walmart workers called on the company to help lift hundreds of thousands of their dedicated employees out of poverty by paying a living wage, as well as providing stable full-time hours for all associates.

Two leaders of the workers group also presented two resolutions intended to rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for all workers across Walmart. The resolutions, including a proposal supported by the Sierra Club, also called on Walmart to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by international marine shipping.

“Despite some recent efforts on the company’s part to reduce its carbon footprint, Walmart is still one of the largest and fastest-growing polluters in the country,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “If Walmart is really serious about driving climate solutions, they should put their money where their mouth is, by setting goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international marine shipping, reporting progress toward those goals to their shareholders, and setting a deadline for 2020 to meet their commitment for 100% clean energy in the U.S.”

During the shareholder’s meeting, the Walmart workers proposed a new policy establishing an independent chairperson for Walmart’s Board of Directors, and called on company leaders to immediately address the recent closure of stores and the laying off of more than 2,200 Walmart workers around the country.

“Mr. Rob Walton, the current non-independent chair of the board, is the most powerful person at our company. The buck stops with him. He could stop these layoffs. He could stop the retaliation. He could stop this company from repeatedly breaking the law. But he has not. That’s why we need an independent chair. ”said Venanzi Luna, a former Walmart employee, who has worked for Walmart in Pico Rivera, Calif., for eight years.

Ms. Luna worked at the first Walmart store to strike in 2012 and one of five stores the company abruptly closed in April, citing “plumbing issues.” More than 2,000 workers were laid off following these sudden closures.

“Our fight to change Walmart will never stop until Walmart does the right thing for all its workers and their families. We’re going to continue to speak out until every hard-working associate is paid a real living wage, full time work that allows them to support their families, and is allowed to stand with their co-workers without fear of retaliation.” said Mary Watkines, a 15-year Walmart associate and shareholder.

 

 

Los Angeles Walmart Workers Rally for $15 and Full-time Hours

rjawmYesterday, ahead of the Walmart’s  June 5 shareholder meeting, Walmart workers and community allies in Los Angeles called for CEO Doug McMillon and the Walton family to end the retaliation against workers who speak out for change, and to publicly commit to pay a living wage of $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours. Two dozen Walmart workers also began a 24-hour fast to highlight the hunger many Walmart associates and their families endure due to the company’s low wages and insufficient hours.

“I’m standing with Walmart workers because no one in our community should have to choose between paying rent and buying food—and especially not someone who works for the richest company in the world,” said Pastor Bridie C. Roberts, program director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. “It is unconscionable for Walmart to punish their workers for standing together to improve their livelihoods.”

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. associates. But despite the modest increase—and without any guarantee of adequate hours —many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by. Meanwhile, the company escalated its retaliatory actions against associates to a new level last month when it abruptly closed five stores and laid off more than 2,000 workers, citing “plumbing issues.” Walmart has failed to offer any conclusive evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Workers at the Walmart store in Pico Rivera, Calif., one of the stores closed for alleged plumbing issues, are calling on the company to publicly commit to reinstating all laid off workers when the store reopens for business and to allow all workers, for the time being, to be transferred to one of the nearby 45 Walmart stores.

“It’s no coincidence that many OUR Walmart members from my store, including myself, have not been transferred to other Walmart stores even though we made the request shortly after the company unilaterally decided to close our store with just a few hours’ notice,” said Venanzi Luna, a Walmart worker from Pico Rivera.

Walmart workers are prepared to demand change and accountability from the world’s largest retailer at the company’s upcoming shareholder meeting. Worker shareholders will present two resolutions intended to rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.

Teresa Adams, one of the Pico Rivera store workers the company laid off, plans to join her coworkers at the shareholder meeting. “Walmart’s business model only works for the people at the very top, and that’s not right,” Adams said. “We’re fighting for $15 and full-time because that’s what we need to support our families.”

 

As CEO Pay Continues to Rise, Walmart Workers Prepare to Call for Change at Retail Giant’s Shareholders Meeting

fb_textart_waltonfamilyAccording to new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch data, CEO pay increased nearly 16 percent in 2014, while Walmart and the Waltons—heirs to the Walmart empire—continue to drive inequality nationwide.

Mega-retailer Walmart, highlighted in this year’s PayWatch, represents one of the most egregious examples of CEO-to-worker pay inequality. Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon is paid $9,323 an hour, while a new Walmart employee making $9 an hour would have to work 1,036 hours to earn what McMillon makes just 60 minutes. PayWatch also notes that six Walton family members have more wealth than 43 percent of America’s families combined.

“I made about $13,000 last year, working as many hours as the company would let me,” said Shannon Henderson, a Walmart employee and mother of two in Sacramento, California. “I work for the richest company in the world, and I can’t support my family without public assistance. That’s not right, and that’s why I’m not going to stop fighting for $15 and full-time.”

As Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting approaches, workers have announced their intention to propose a shareholder resolution that would rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.

 

Honoring Retail Workers on Mother’s Day

retail momsMother’s Day is time to honor the many contributions that mothers make to our families and communities.  It’s also an opportunity to recognize the many working mothers in the retail sector who have mobilized to improve jobs at our country’s most profitable companies, such as Walmart and McDonald’s, and cast a light on the role these companies have played in perpetuating inequality in America.

Although the retail sector is an important employer of women and continues to add jobs to the economy, too many women in this industry are struggling in low-wage, part-time jobs with unpredictable “on call” scheduling.  On call scheduling puts workers in the vulnerable position of being called in to work a shift at just a moment’s notice, which makes it impossible to plan for competing life demands such as childcare and threatens their economic security.

For years, workers in the retail sector, including members of OUR Walmart, have called on their employers for better wages, benefits and schedules.  While their actions have led to wage increases at Walmart, McDonald’s, Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Dominos, more must be done to increase access to fair, flexible, and reliable scheduling so that retail workers can support themselves and their families

Retail jobs can and should be a source of stability for working mothers and their families. On Mother’s Day and every day, the Retail Justice Alliance stands with working mothers in the retail sector who are fighting to improve jobs in this important and growing industry.

Following Retaliatory Closures, Walmart Workers Take Legal Action

Supported by elected officials, clergy and community members, group files for injunctive relief with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of workers

Local school board launches resolution calls on Walmart to consider economic impact to local community, transfer and reinstate workers

11174655_1092389480778107_6579073321344252761_oNATIONWIDE —Yesterday Pico Rivera Walmart workers withOUR Walmart filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to Walmart’s retaliatory store closings. Last week, Walmart abruptly closed 5 Walmart stores in four states due to an alleged national plumbing emergency. However, city officials point out that the company has obtained no permits to begin repairs in any of these locations. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Among the five stores was the Pico Rivera, California Walmart Supercenter, which has been the hotbed for worker action. The store is also of symbolic important to the low-wage worker movement, as it sparked the Walmart and fast food strikes when it was the first store to go on strike in October of 2012. Workers from the store also held the first large sit-down strike and participated in civil disobedience in the weeks prior to last Black Friday.

“This is a new low, even for Walmart,” said Venanzi Luna, an eight-year Walmart worker and long-time OUR Walmart member. “It’s just so heartless to put thousands of your employees out of a job with no clear explanation on just a few hours’ notice. We know that Walmart is scared of all we have accomplished as members of OUR Walmart so they’re targeting us. Through OUR Walmart, we’re going to keep fighting back until the company gives us our jobs back. It’s unfortunate that Walmart has chosen to hurt the lives of so many people, just to try to conceal their real motives of silencing workers just like they’ve always done.”

Workers are asking the National Labor Relations Board to see injunctive relief under section 10j of the National Labor Relations Act. They are calling on the National Labor Relations Board to compel Walmart to rehire all of the workers who were terminated in all five stores and reinstate them to their own stores or transfer them without loss of pay until they can be reinstated to their stores. A 10j injunction is designed to allow the court to act quickly to remedy such extreme violations without the long delay which is anticipated for NLRB proceedings.

As the filing notes, this is not the first time Walmart has taken dramatic action to quell worker action. In June of 2014, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Walmart had violated labor law when it closed the Jonquiére, Quebec Walmart store. The workers in that store had voted to join a union, becoming the first unionized store in North America just before it closed. In 2000, butchers in aJacksonville, Texas Walmart voted to join UFCW Local 540. Two weeks later, Walmart closed its 180 meat departments in stores nationwide and switched to prepackaged case ready meat only. More recently, Walmart fired and disciplined more than 70 workers who participated in strikes in June 2013. An Administrative Law Judge of the NLRB has found merit to claims against Walmart and additional claims are currently being prosecuted by the General Counsel of the NLRB against Walmart.

“Walmart’s choice to close one of the most vocal stores in the fight for $15 and full time is a clear and direct assault on all workers’ rights,” said Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta. “As a country, we cannot sit back quietly as our nation’s largest private employer is allowed to lay off thousands of people in an attempt to silence them from speaking out for better wages, hours and respect on the job.”

Community members and elected officials have also come out in support of Walmart workers. The El Rancho Unified School District, in which the Pico Rivera store is located, will vote on a resolution in support of the laid off Pico Rivera Walmart workers. The resolution “calls on Walmart to consider the economic hardship their decision has caused for their 530 Associates from the Pico Rivera store and their families and commit to transfer all of the Associates to surrounding Walmart stores before new people are hired to fill positions in those stores…”

Other community members also attended yesterday’s press conference to call attention to the impact of Walmart’s actions on their neighborhoods, congregations and communities.

“It is a scandal against all that is righteous, though it is unfortunately not surprising, that Walmart, the economic Pharaoh who cannot see workers as people but only as expense lines, has again decreed unemployment and poverty and suffering on 530 workers here, and similar numbers in four other stores,” said local Rabbi Aryeh Cohen. “In November, I joined other clergy and community leaders and workers in an act of civil disobedience to support the brave workers who sat down and struck in order to stand up with dignity. We then demanded $15 an hour and access to full employment. Today our demands have not changed. However, we also demand that Pharaoh rehire all 530 workers, give them priority before hiring other workers for less pay, and support the fired workers beyond the mandated 60 days.”

Workers promised that they would continue to fight the company’s retaliatory closures with bold action until the company meets their calls for reinstatement, transfer with equal pay and compensation in the interim and finally, the opportunity to return to their stores when they reopen.

“Allowing Walmart to get away with such a blatant attack on the rights of workers’ in our community would open the door for any employer to simply develop ‘plumbing issues’ whenever workers stood up for change in their workplace,” said SEIU 721 Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez. “We need to send a message to Walmart and all employers that in our community, the rights of working people must be respected. That’s why we’ll continue to stand with Walmart workers as they fight to get back to work and for change at the world’s largest private employer.”

OUR Walmart, Fast Food Workers Join Forces in the Fight for $15

This week, members of OUR Walmart joined forces with fast food workers and thousands of other low-wage workers and community allies across the country as part the Fight for $15 movement. Held on April 15, the massive mobilization cast a light on the struggles of low-wage workers who work for our country’s most profitable companies, such as Walmart and McDonald’s, and the role these companies have played in perpetuating inequality in America.

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to pressure and raised wages for 500,000 workers.  Weeks later, McDonald’s, Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Dominos followed suit.  While these modest raises are a small victory, they’re not nearly enough to raise a family or keep food on the table without depending on public assistance to get by.

For-15-300x149Walmart can afford to pay all of its 1.3 million workers at least $15 per hour and provide access to full-time, consistent hours.  The company makes between $16 and $17 billion a year in profits, and just four members of the Walton Family—heirs to the Walmart empire—have a combined family fortune that is estimated to be nearly $150 billion. Their net worth is greater than the wealth held by 42 percent of American families combined!

“To think just a few years ago only a few of us would dare to stand up to companies like Walmart and McDonalds, and yet today tens of thousands of us are in the streets across the world,” said Latavia Johnson, a cake decorator at Walmart in Granite City, Ill. “We know that these companies are feeling the pressure, but the truth is, their tiny wage increases – especially with no guarantee of hours – still leave people like me struggling to keep food in my cabinets. I make $8.85 an hour and average only 20-30 hours a week. It’s impossible to feed my children, let alone myself, on that pay. That’s why I’m here today and that’s why I’ll keep standing up for the $15 an hour we need to care for our families.”

To sign the OUR Walmart petition that publicly calls on Walmart and the Waltons to raise wages to $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours, visit http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/For15.

 

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OUR Walmart, Fast Food Workers Will Join Forces on April 15

FightFor15-April15On April 15, members of OUR Walmart will join fast food, home care and airport workers across the country in the ongoing fight for decent pay, better schedules, and respect on the job at our country’s most profitable companies as part of the Fight for $15 movement.

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to pressure and raised wages for 500,000 workers.  Weeks later, McDonald’s, Target, TJ Maxx and Marshalls followed suit.  While these modest raises are a small victory, they’re not nearly enough to raise a family or keep food on the table without depending on public assistance to get by.

When we stand together, we win.  Let’s show companies like Walmart and McDonald’s that we’re ready to keep fighting for change and holding them accountable. With billions in profits each year, these companies can afford to pay working people a decent wage.

For more information about the actions on April 15, visit https://actionnetwork.org/forms/winning-raises-winning-changes.  You can also sign the OUR Walmart petition that publicly calls on Walmart and the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart empire, to raise wages to $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours by visiting http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/For15.

Wage Hikes at Walmart Are Not Sufficient, New Report Highlights


ATF fact 1-edit
Walmart’s plans to raise wages for 500,000 hourly employees, starting at $9 per hour for its lowest paid workers in April 2015 and $10 per hour in 2016, will still require billions in taxpayer subsidies to compensate for the retail giant’s low-wage, part-time business strategy, according to a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness.

The report, titled The Walmart Tax Subsidy: Walmart’s Wage Hike to $10/Hour Still Requires Large Taxpayer Subsidies, points out many Walmart workers being paid $9 or $10 per hour for 34 hours per week (which is considered full-time at Walmart) would still qualify for public assistance, such as food stamps. Increasing Walmart wages to $15 per hour and full-time hours to 40 hours per week would enable many Walmart workers to be lifted above the income levels that qualify for public subsidies.

Members of OUR Walmart have launched a petition calling on Walmart and the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart empire, to raise wages to $15 per hour and provide access to full-time hours.  To sign the petition, visit http://action.changewalmart.org/page/s/For15.atf-fact3

 

 

OUR Walmart Statement on McDonald’s Wage Announcement

Reposted from Making Change at Walmart

11080775_1079418722075183_3578858123948433137_oToday, McDonald’s announced it would raise wages for 90,000 workers. The following isOUR Walmart’s response:

“We are glad to hear that like Walmart, McDonald’s is starting to respond to the concerns of its workers around wages, hours and our rights on the job. While this is an important first step, McDonald’s and Walmart’s modest wage increases still don’t pay us enough to be able to feed our families or pay our rent without relying on government assistance,” said Diana Tigon, a Walmart cashier from Arlington, TX who makes $9.50 an hour. “We know now more than ever that our voices are being heard and we’ll continue to stand for a real wage of $15 an hour and full-time, consistent schedules.”