D.C. Council Targets Wal-Mart With “Living Wage” Bill

Wal-Mart has long been in the crosshairs of Democrats, mostly because Wal-Mart refuses to allow unionization, along with its employees constantly voting against unionization. They let that hatred override the fact that Wal-Mart employees lots and lots of people, many of whom move up within the company. The D.C. council is no exception

(Washington Post) D.C. lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a bill requiring some large retailers to pay their employees a 50 percent premium over the city’s minimum wage, a day after Wal-Mart warned that the law would jeopardize its plans in the city.

The retail giant had linked the future of at least three planned stores in the District to the proposal. But its ultimatum did not change any legislators’ minds. The 8 to 5 roll call matched the outcome of an earlier vote on the matter, taken before Wal-Mart’s warning.

“The question here is a living wage; it’s not whether Wal-Mart comes or stays,” said council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large), a lead backer of the legislation, who added that the city did not need to kowtow to threats. “We’re at a point where we don’t need retailers. Retailers need us.”

Wal-Mart had pretty much stated that they will not build any stores in D.C. if the council passed this legislation, which was meant to specifically target Wal-Mart. Said stores were going to be build in the poorest areas, ie, slums, of D.C. No other companies will be really required to provide the higher minimum wage

The D.C. Council bill would require retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger to pay their employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city’s minimum wage is $8.25.

While the bill would apply to some other retailers — such as Home Depot, Costco and Macy’s — a grandfather period and an exception for those with unionized workforces made it clear that the bill targets Wal-Mart, which has said it would open six stores, employing up to 1,800 people.

This violates the equal treatment under the law provisions of city code, as well as federal code (the law must pass a congressional review period). As DrewM points out

At some point you’d think liberals would learn a basic fact: wages are a reflection of how much an employer has to pay to get workers of a certain level of quality. Wages are not charity handed out to enable workers to live at a certain level. You want to make more money? Great, make yourself more valuable to an employer. But that’s too hard for too many hardcore Democratic voters so they want the state to impose an acceptable wage level on employers unrelated to their actual worth.

Wal-Mart would have provided lots and lots of jobs, and since so many of their new stores are superstores with fresh produce, would have given these poor citizens access to better food at low prices. And jobs. Did I mention jobs? Democrats care more about their politics than people.

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4 Responses to “D.C. Council Targets Wal-Mart With “Living Wage” Bill”

  1. john says:

    Teach would you rather have WalMart pay them a living wage or would you rather have those workers receiving food stamps and other Federal benefits?. The economy is doing GREAT for the top 10% not so good for the 90%. America’s corporations like WalMart are posting record profits while the workers wages are actually decreasing. If WalMart paid higher wages, your company might be able to sell more phones

  2. gitarcarver says:

    Well john you continually show a lack of understanding of economics.

    First, there is no definition of “living wage.” That is just a made up based on what people think they need rather than just the basics.

    Secondly, WalMart has a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders. Unlike the government, that means maximizing the money they spend to get the best return on their investment. If Walmart is paying market wages in the area, that is their choice and the government should stay out of it.

    Thirdly, as Teach said, WalMart will bring lower prices and better quality produce into the area, That is a health benefit.

    Fourth, when you say that WalMart should be paying a living wage because otherwise the employees will be on food stamps and other Federal programs, where do you think the people are now? If WalMart is paying a competitive that means less payout for taxpayers, isn’t that a good thing?

    Or is your belief that having no jobs and people on social programs a good thing?

    Finally, where do you think the higher wages come from? Do you think they magically appear? Higher costs result in higher prices john. It is basic economics.

    WalMart is paying above the minimum wage for most full time positions. They are doing more than required.

    If you want to go in and start a company, that is fine. Do just that. But the government has no right to pick out a company and demand they pay higher wages above other companies.

    In the end, it looks like Washington will lose out and WalMart won’t build the three stores denying people jobs.

    I am sure you are proud of that.

  3. And 6th, shouldn’t every other company be forced to do the same, John? Or just Wal-Mart?

  4. Jenn says:

    It’s not a great surprise that the DC Council shot themselves in the foot with this. This is the same city that re-elected Marion Barry how many times? It’s just another brilliant example of the epic failure and inherent corruption/entitlement ideology of a Democrat-led city.

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