Walmart Protesters Take Aim At Walton Heir's $16 Million Hobby

WalmartFor months now, labor activists have pointed to the growing gap between CEOs' and workers' pay as proof that the minimum wage needs to be raised. But now a group of protesters in front of a Walmart took the argument one step further and made it personal: Taking aim at the chairman's expensive hobby.

On Saturday, S. Robson Walton, the 17th richest man in the world and the chairman of Walmart, was in Laguna Seca, Calif., racing his Maserati, Ferrari and two other cars. According to local reports, a small group of protesters, two of them fired Walmart workers, staged protests in front of the racetrack and a nearby Walmart, taking Robson Walton to task and noted his cars were valued at $16 million.

One group unfurled a banner that said simply, "Your hobby = our taxes." Some handed out leaflets that said, "The American people are tired of paying for your expensive hobbies. Time to pay your workers a living wage."

The protests are a reference to the fact that thousands of employees of Walmart rely on public assistance to make ends meet. Our Walmart, the union group organizing protests, contends that "the average Walmart store" costs taxpayers $1 million a year in government subsidies, notes The Herald News. Spokespeople for Walmart, however, have countered that Walmart's hourly wages -- about $8.53 an hour for a cashier, according to -- are competitive for the industry and that some 75 percent of managers started as associates and were promoted from within. A spokeswoman told The Herald News that "we see [these protests] as another attempt by union organizers to try to gain attention, but, unfortunately for them, they don't represent those people who work in our stores everyday."

Is Robson Walmart's hobby irrelevant? Tony Barrera, a City Councilman from Salinas, one of the handful people at the protest, didn't think so. He told The Herald News:

"The Waltons are very well off, and I admire them for that, but when Rob Walton is out here racing $16 million worth of vehicles (a Ferrari, a Maserati, a Corvette and a Scarab) and his employees are struggling to put food on their tables, I think any reasonable person is going to ask, 'What's wrong with this picture?' I'm here to say to the Waltons, 'You're entitled to your wealth ... but what about them?'"

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"Let them eat cake" is the traditional translation of the French phrase "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", supposedly spoken by "a great princess" upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was made from dough enriched with butter and eggs, and those ingredients were even more scarce and more costly than dough, making brioche even more out of the reach of the peasants than bread, the quote supposedly would reflect the princess's obliviousness as to the condition of the people.

September 07 2013 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Think where companies that use to pay pensions and minimum 40hr work weeks has there profits go to now? Shareholders and CEO's! Unions fought fpr these benefits for a stronger middle class and now is being taken away by greed and entitlement. Over 70% of companies in 1980 paid pensions, today less than 10%. Why is it so important to be placed on the Forbes magazine list of the 100 or so richest Americans, than having those people see there name being placed on a list of the Best Paid Jobs in the country and still make money. Look at Costco, its the 5th largest and best paid in the industry and never hearing of that company as Walmart with there problems. I tip my hat off to that owner, he is truly a great example. We are not progressing as a nation, but regressing! Do the right thing Walmart. Pay your people fairly and give them all health insurance if you really consider them your WALMART FAMILY! Sell one of those cars.

September 06 2013 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE! Show them some numbers. Get it!!!!

September 06 2013 at 12:07 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toned99's comment


December 01 2014 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dillonsparks's comment

sorry, they're not unionized, therefore, no STRIKE. they can however, quit, leave, not show up, slow down, cheat, steal, whatever, and that is their 'right', (except the cheat/steal), and then the Company fires them. Just like former President Reagan fired the butthead ill advised flight controllers.

December 01 2014 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

I would like to add to Johns comment concerning "WALMART". "WALMART" has ruined business for the smaller hard working man by cornering the market on products. The small owned "MOM" and "POP" stores no longer have a chance to survive unless they sell a product that walmart doesn't need or want to sell. Walmart is the true reason why the American worker can't own a decent piece of the American Pie because of their GREED. I want to remind you Walmart that every greedy powerful company has fallen and so shall you one day.

August 30 2013 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Synethia's comment

more urban legends. mom and pops who are efficient and customer oriented still survive and will continue to survive. those with antiquated ways will fall. and remember, those customers who are only interested in LOW PRICES will always shun the mom & pops. why not ask those bottom feeders why they shop at WM? and why is there never a HELP WANTED sign in a WM? because people line up to work there. i got more if you're interested.............

December 01 2014 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think a big part of the problem that people are not seeing is that real wage growth has been stagnate for 10 years now. If the bottom of the scale does'nt move then the rest of the scale does'nt move. A lot of people are tired of all the corp welfare that supports companies like Walmart. Dont say they dont get it because they DO. All of the tax breaks they get to open a new store or the land given to them from imminent domain to "revitalize" an area.

What I am most tired of is that these type of jobs are becoming a HUGE part of the overall job market. We all want to save 20 cents on a product but we do need to think what we are doing to our country by sending most of the bottom part of the job market oversees.

The job market has become very cutthroat and downright usery. I find jobs that want a degree, multiple years of experience and only offer $10/hr and want you to be flexible because they want to change your schedule or cut your hours whenever they choose so it impossible to try to get a second job to supplement your salary.

Companies like Walmart know that they can treat people poorly because they are desparate and have nowhere else to go.

By the way-if you only pay a little you will only get a little on return. You want better people-offer a better wage.

The current Walmart is NOTHING like Sam wanted. He believed in being thrifty and treating everyone with respect- not like the people who have succeeeded him.

August 27 2013 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think some of you should actually work at walmart for a certain period of time for the wages they give, with the crap schedule they give as well, then you will certainly change your opinion.

August 27 2013 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Walmart's hourly wages -- about $8.53 an hour for a cashier.....Unionize! Then pay about $1.53 in Union dues and see how far your $7 an hour pay goes.

August 27 2013 at 1:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to user10181's comment

BRAVO, a voice that understands simple economics. simply stated.

December 01 2014 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you don't like working at Walmarts, work somewhere else. If you do not have the skills required, then either acquire them or stop whining. Looking at Walmart's employees, it is obvious that many are marginal at best. If they were making 40.00/hourly Walmarts prices would be at a level that most of their current customers would avoid the store just to avoid the staff. Quit yer whining!

August 27 2013 at 1:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gene's comment

Thanks Gene, for a simple true statement.

December 01 2014 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Harris

How much do union big wigs make and how much union money is donated to their favorite Democratic mouth piece,from the dues coerced from union members ?

August 26 2013 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John Harris's comment

Sure that maybe true, but at least your making a descent wage. Nothing is perfect, but with unions, at least you have an even playing field, especially with companies such as Walmart. They abuse the system!

September 06 2013 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wake up folks.. Walmart has 2million employees. If he decided to sell his race car & give the money to his employees it would be a whole $8 each. Same type of math with the "high priced" CEO's . Most associates would not want the stress or long hours a good CEO has.

August 25 2013 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to x's comment

Most of those CEO's do not work long hours nor do they have stress. Many of such companies stress that management does not work so certainly a CEO would not bother himself with the mundane duties of daily work. They delegate and blame and hold occasional meetings but I assure you they are not overworked and they do not work enough to merit salaries of 20 or 30 million a year. So give it a rest. Oh and the Waltons are worth 150 BILLION and that comes from paying those employees crap and it also comes from only 48% of the company so there are also untold other billions going out somewhere that should be getting used to pay those employees. if stores like Costco can do it Walmart can also. So Mr X you WAKE UP

August 26 2013 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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