The Walton family is the richest family in the United States and one of the richest and most powerful in the world. They are heirs to the Walmart fortune and the company’s largest shareholders, with over fifty percent ownership of stock in the retail giant.
Sam Walton and his brother Bud opened their first Walmart discount store in 1962. Today three family members serve on Walmart’s board of directors; Rob is the chair, and sits on the board with his brother Jim and his son-in-law, Greg Penner.
The six Waltons on Forbes’ list of wealthiest Americans have a net worth of $144.7 billion. This fiscal year three Waltons—Rob, Jim, and Alice (and the various entities that they control)—will receive an estimated $3.1 billion in Walmart dividends from their majority stake in the company.
The Waltons aren’t just the face of the 1%; they’re the face of the 0.000001%. The Waltons have more wealth than 42% of American families combined.
Why does all of this matter? While the Waltons are building billion-dollar museums, driving million-dollar cars, and jumping between vacation homes, Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, is paying its associates an average of $8.81 an hour. The Waltons make billions a year off of a company most of them don’t even work for, while Walmart associates struggle for respect on the job and enough pay to make ends meet.
Through their family legacy, places on Walmart’s board of directors, and their majority stake in the company, the Waltons have the power to turn 1.4 million Walmart jobs into good jobs.