This was a request from my Laurel canyon bandmate Jim, who is very liberal – a socialist really, he’ll tell you so – and is not happy about Hillary having been on the board of directors of the “evil” retail store Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the poster-child for horrible corporate governance for liberals. The aren’t unionized and fight it tooth and nail. Their employees are paid low wages. They instruct their employees on how to get food stamp and other forms of welfare so they can keep paying lower wages. Etc. So, of course, any involvement with that company is a ding against her.
Jim wanted to know if it was true. And i told him I’d look into it.
Yep. She was, at one time, on the Wal-Mart Board Of Directors, from 1986 to 1992, the year she became first lady. She came into the fold at a time when Wal-Mart was expanding, but was not yet national. Wal-Mart of 1986 was not yet the mega-giant we know today. In 85, before Hillary came on board, they had about 882 stores in operation in about 22 mid-western and southeastern states, recorded sales of 8.4 billion, and had about 104,000 employees. When Hillary left the board of Wal-Mart to eventually become First Lady, the chain had grown into a much larger retail chain, and had stores in 45 of the 50 states. Today’s Wal-Mart US division has about 4,600 stores, 1.4 million US employees, and it’s revenue is something around $482 billion.
Needless to say, the Wal-Mart Hillary Clinton was associated with is not the behemoth that is Wal-Mart today.
That doesn’t mean that the same problems didn’t exist. Sam Walton, the founder of the company was already notorious for keeping costs down, which included employee pay. But they did offer stock options, and I’m betting many of the longterm employees have done pretty well in that regard. But their benefits are nowhere nearly as good as unionized competitor Costco. There are other issues as well.
The New York Times does a good job describing her time on the board. Note that she was the first female appointed to the board, and the Times notes that, although she didn’t seem to lobby hard for employee pay increases, she did press for, and get some improvements in other areas.
So, Jim, there you go.