A group of disgruntled Walmart employees have taken aim at the expensive hobby of its second-gen chairman, in a protest to point out the pay discrepancy between the family business’s minimum wage workers and its top-level executives.
S. Robson Walton, 68, was targeted while taking part in a racing event in California with his collection of luxury cars, including a Maserati and a Ferrari, valued at an estimated $16 million.
Two separate protests were staged – one in front of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the other at a nearby Walmart store.
Protestors argued that while Walton can afford in such hobbies, many of the department store chain’s full-time employees require government support to survive.
One group displayed a banner saying "Your hobby = our taxes" and handed out leaflets saying: "The American people are tired of paying for your expensive hobbies. Time to pay your workers a living wage."
Walton is the 17th richest man in the world, according to Forbes, with a fortune of $26.1 billion (€19.5 billion).
The protests were staged by Our Walmart – an organisation that campaigns for higher wages and workers' rights for Walmart employees.
Raymond Bravo, a member of Our Walmart who was recently fired from the chain, said it would take a Walmart employee 194 years working around the clock to earn one million dollars.
Walmart had revenues of $466.1 billion in 2012, but according to the union, each Walmart store costs the government an average $1 million annually in healthcare, food and rent subsidies to employees.
According to online wage comparison site Glassdoor.com, Walmart employees are paid a starting salary of $8.86 an hour, but Walmart has said that rate is reasonable for the industry.
A Walmart spokeswoman told the Monterey Herald: "Most of the people who are demonstrating at our stores are not associates – otherwise they would know what the real Walmart is."
She said they did not represent the 1.3 million employees working for Walmart in the US, or the 2.2 million who work for the chain internationally.