The Clinton Economy Is the Wal-Mart Economy

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If any corporate donation can accurately predict the direction in which a Hillary Clinton presidency would take the American economy, it would be the sizeable donations made by Wal-Mart executives. 

As early as 2013, Alice Walton, heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, donated the maximum allowed amount ($25,000) to the Ready For Hillary PAC. [1]

The Clinton Foundation has also received a sizeable amount of direct donations from Wal-Mart. Indeed, the Wal-Mart Foundation has even donated anywhere from $1 to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2013 alone. The Wal-Mart Foundation has also funded and hosted a number of “energy and climate change” awards for the Clinton Global Initiative. [2]

The assistance and promotion has been reciprocal, of course, with the Clinton Global Initiative posting a rave reviewof the Wal-Mart corporation, naming it a company that makes great “efforts to empower girls and women.” It was unclear as to whether it was the slave labor wages, the humiliating work environment, or the abusive labor policies of Wal-mart that were the “empowerment of girls and women.” Such questions generally do go unanswered.[3]

The Clinton’s have also assisted Wal-Mart in the past regarding its effort to appear as more environmentally-friendly. For this reason, Bill Clinton met with past Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott in order to help boost the company’s relationship with environmentalists.[4]

Yet the Clinton connection to Wal-Mart goes much further back than 2013. As Kevin Young and Diana C. Sierra Becerra of Solidarity wrote in their article “Something That Might Be Called A Neo-Con: Hillary Clinton And Corporate Feminism,”

Hillary Clinton’s record on such issues is hardly encouraging. Her decades of service on corporate boards and in major policy roles as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State give a clear indication of where she stands. One of Clinton’s first high-profile public positions was at Walmart, where she served on the board from 1986 to 1992. [5] She “remained silent” in board meetings as her company “waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers,” as an ABC review of video recordings later noted.[6]

Clinton recounted in her 2003 book that Walmart CEO Sam Walton “taught me a great deal about corporate integrity and success.” Though she later began trying to shed her public identification with the company in order to attract labor support for her Senate and presidential candidacies, Walmart executives have continued to look favorably on her, with Alice Walton donating the maximum amount to the “Ready for Hillary” Super PAC in 2013.[7] Walton’s $25,000 donation was considerably higher than the average annual salary for Walmart’s hourly employees, two-thirdsof whom are women. [8] [9] [10]

In regards to her “remaining silent” on Wal-Mart’s war on labor and labor unions while she served on the Wal-Mart corporate board, it appears that Clinton did much more than merely remain silent. Patrick Caldwell of Mother Jones reports that she was actually involved in these decisions. Caldwell writes,

Clinton was the first woman to serve on the board of the company. As the Village Voice noted in a 2000article denouncing Clinton Walmart past, Clinton’s spot on the board was designed just for her: she wasn’t filling any open vacancies, and the company didn’t replace her seat when she resigned in 1992.[11] Her ties to Walmart weren’t confined to her role on the board, either. Walmart was one of Rose’s clients and, according to a 1994 New York Times article, Hillary served as “director” for the firm’s representation of Walmart.[12] [13]

In 2007 the New York Times reported that during her time on the board, Clinton pushed for greater representation for women in the company’s management and led an advisory group that focused on ways Walmart could improve its environmental practices.[14] During a shareholder meeting the year after she joined the company, Walton said they’d added a “strong-willed young lady on the board now who has already told the board it should do more to ensure the advancement of women.”

But on unionization—the primary liberal complaint against Walmart—Clinton had little to say. A 2008 ABC review of videotapes from Walmart meetings found that “Clinton remained silent as the world’s largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.”[15]

“She was not a dissenter,” one of her fellow board members told the Los Angeles Times in 2007. “She was a part of those decisions.”[16]

Even while Bill Clinton served as Governor of Arkansas, the Clintons, due to Hillary’s position on the board, traveled for free on the Wal-Mart corporate jet 14 times in the time span between 1990 and 1991. Bill was a widespread defender of Wal-Mart during his tenure as Governor. This is, of course, not surprising, since Bill depended on Wal-Mart for funding his campaigns both on the State and Federal level.[17]

It is thus a true pity that union members – we can assume the big union bosses are not unaware of Clinton’s Wal-Mart, anti-union history – find themselves at Clinton rallies, with their hard-earned dues being donated to the Clinton campaign merely to hear empty slogans of how Clinton supports labor, unions, and the right to collectively bargain.[18] All the evidence shows that, when Clinton finally seizes the reins of power, she does her part in crushing union formation, worker’s rights, and reasonable working conditions. In the meantime, however, the empty slogans come flowing out like rushing water.

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Notes:

[1] Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[2] Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[3] Abeywardena, Penny. “How Walmart Is Reimagining Its Investments To Empower Girls And Women.” Clinton Foundation website. April 29, 2014. https://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog/2014/04/29/how-walmart-reimagining-its-investments-empower-girls-and-women Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[4] Eidelson, Josh. “Wal-mart’s Big Green Con: Environmentalists Blast Megastore, As Worker’s Strike.” Salon. November 13, 2013.http://www.salon.com/2013/11/13/wal_marts_big_green_con_environmentalists_blast_megastore_as_workers_strike/Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[5] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[6] Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonda. “Clinton Remained Silent As Walmart Fought Unions.” ABC News. January 31, 2008. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4218509 Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[7] Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[8] “Fact Sheet – Wages.” Making A Change At Walmart website.http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/factsheet/walmart-watch-fact-sheets/fact-sheet-wages/ Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[9] “Walmart’s Women Workers Take Case To Supreme Court.” Alternet.http://www.alternet.org/rss/breaking_news/542766/walmart%27s_women_workers_take_case_to_supreme_courtAccessed on September 9, 2015. 

[10] Young, Kevin; Becerra, Diana C. Sierra. “’Something That Might Be Called A Neocon:’ Hillary Clinton And Corporate Feminism.” Solidarity. March 3, 2015. https://solidarity-us.org/node/4389 Accessed on September 8, 2015. 

[11] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[12] Labaton, Stephen. “Rose Law Firm, Arkansas Power, Slips As It Steps Onto A Bigger Stage.” New York Times. February 26, 1994. 

[13] Caldwell, Patrick. “Retail Politics: Hillary Clinton Heads To Costco, Skips Walmart On Her Latest Book Tour.” Mother Jones. June 14, 2014. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-costco-walmart Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[14] Barbaro, Michael. “As A Director, Clinton Moved Wal-Mart Board, but Only So Far.” New York Times. May 20, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/us/politics/20walmart.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[15] Ross, Brian; Schwartz, Rhonda. “Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions.” ABC News. January 31, 2008. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4218509 Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[16] Braun, Stephen. “At Wal-Mart, Clinton Didn’t Upset Any Carts.” Los Angeles Times. May 19, 2007.http://www.latimes.com/la-na-clintonwalmart19-2007may19-story.html#page=1 Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[17] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 9, 2015. 

[18] Harkavy, Ward. “Wal-Mart’s First Lady.” Village Voice. May 23, 2000. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/wal-marts-first-lady-6418414 Accessed on September 9, 2015. 


Articles by: Brandon Turbeville

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