Lee Scott, What a Charmer!

Lee Scott, What a Charmer!

At Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders meeting, the company blames workers for its public relations disasters.

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

Friday was the company’s annual meeting, and, as expected, officials had to address the ongoing firestorm of criticism of Wal-Mart’s practices, and the well-organized national campaigns [link to wakeupwalmart.com and walmartwatch.com] backed by labor and other social justice groups. Did CEO Lee Scott assure his employees that he was listening, and that Wal-Mart was doing everything it could to make the company a more humane place to work? Did he promise to unveil a compensation plan that would keep workers and their families off welfare? No, Scott, who last week denied reports that his job was in danger, did something even more astonishing: he blamed the workers themselves for the recent spate of public relations disasters. “You better be ready to be better,” he told them. In another gem of sage advice, Scott offered that “associates” should be “doing the right things and doing things right.”

Though there were the usual raucous cheers–among workers, only true believers get to attend the meeting–the mood of the crowd was not quite blindly adoring. Shareholders and workers applauded Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, when she chided the company for having so few women on its thirteen-person board of directors (only one), and called on the company to disclose race and gender data on the distribution of stock options. Still, her resolution was voted down. (Socially conscious resolutions usually lose, not just at Wal-Mart, but at most companies.)

In other news, Wal-Mart is hoping to win back the good will of the American people by…sponsoring a reality show. Admittedly, the strategy has worked for Anna Nicole Smith and Kirstie Alley, both of whom did have some image problems, albeit mild ones: they were has-beens of less-than-svelte girth. Wal-Mart has far more to overcome.

Thank you for reading The Nation

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply-reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Throughout this critical election year and a time of media austerity and renewed campus activism and rising labor organizing, independent journalism that gets to the heart of the matter is more critical than ever before. Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to properly investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories into the hands of readers.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Ad Policy
x