Walmart Threatens To Pull Out Of D.C. Over 'Living Wage'

On Tuesday afternoon, Walmart officials, lobbyists, and an upper executive paid a visit to the Washington D.C. Council. What could bring out the muscle of the world's largest retailer? The prospect of a raised minimum wage.

As The Washington Post reports, D.C. Council members are voting Wednesday on a bill that would demand mega-retailers pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour, with Walmart the clear target. Walmart, which pays its hourly associates an average of $8.84 an hour, according to Glassdoor, threatened to stop at least three of the six planned Walmart stores from opening in the city if the bill succeeded, forcing the council to decide: Are no new Walmart jobs better than poorly paid ones?

In a Post op-ed published Tuesday, Walmart regional general manager Alex Barron called the bill "an eleventh-hour effort" that is "arbitrary and discriminatory" and "discourages investment in Washington."

More: Walmart Worker: Why I Love My Job And Can't Fathom The Protests


Update, 07/10/13, 5.50 p.m. EDT: The city council passed the bill by a vote of 8 to 5. It is now headed to the desk of the mayor, who has indicated that he may veto it.

The ultimatum was "immensely discouraging," Mayor Vincent C. Gray told the Post, since six new stores -- three of them already under construction -- that Walmart is planning would employ 1,800 people, bringing needed jobs, cash, affordable retail, and fresh produce to the capital's poorer neighborhoods. Barron said even the three stores underway could be scrapped if the bill becomes law, pending a review of "financial and legal implications."

The proposal comes on the heels of a wave of union-backed worker protests against Walmart, demanding better hours and a "living wage," which some have pinned at $15 an hour, and accusing the country's largest employer of retaliating against workers who try to organize. Last year, Walmart's bid to open its first store in New York City collapsed, because of backlash from labor unions, community advocates and politicians who charged the retailer with unfair labor practices. Last week, two major European pension funds divested from Walmart, citing labor violations.

Before Walmart's warning to the council today, Gray had called Walmart "a good corporate neighbor," because of its efforts to hear the concerns and desires of local communities, and Walmart says its polls show almost three quarters of residents "in favor" of Walmart. Gray told the Post he would consider vetoing the bill.


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ConnieJ

Nowhere in any articles do I see information about the low-level starting salaries of other companies. For example what is the starting pay for Target, Meijer, Sears, Jcp, Macy's, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.? And how about the smaller businesses? Do they pay $15 an hour? Are any of these 'union shops', that can drive them out of business because they can't compete financially? I'm sure that if Walmart had 'caved' and handed over the 'big bucks' to the Obama and Democrat campaigns this wouldn't be an issue. I hope that, if this goes through, Walmart will pull all its business out of the DC area. There are a lot of other areas that will welcome them. Keep in mind that competition drives the pay scales. If a company can't get workers at their scale, then they will have to raise the rates. The same applies across the board. Noboby starts 'at the top' in business (relatives excepted). If you want more money, then apply yourself and work your way up. Yes, it does happen; it just takes the extra effort.

July 16 2013 at 11:29 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
edptruck

Dont build the new stores and close any others within a 50 mile radius of WASHINGTON DC. Let the morons who voted for those politicians go elsewhere. Next they will be telling you they want floral toilet paper in the bathrooms and pictures of Barry and Pelosi hung all over the store.

July 16 2013 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
camelottwo

If those in DC find Walmart to be reprehensible, then let the market manage itself, and I am sure Walmart will find that no one will get in line for a job, nor will they shop there, right? How many posting here shop at Walmart for "cheap" goods, lower prices etc. If you shop there....you are a part of the problem. Put your money where your mouth is. Don't ever set foot in a Walmart or Target again and don't ever work there. We the people have the power to control the market without government intervention but we cannot talk out of both sides of our mouths. Stand up for what you believe in. But don't be a hypocrite and shop there or apply for work there if you really, really find them to be unworthy corporate citizens and then bash them on a blog.

July 16 2013 at 9:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
cpaul19436

WalMart is the worst employer and corporate citizen in America despite what they say. The problem is that they are the biggest dog in the pen and can bully everyone. If they could get away with paying $1.25 an hour to their employees they would. They bully their suppliers unmercifully squeezing every dime and penny they can from them. This in turn forces those same suppliers to go off shore for manufacturing to gain back their losses. The end result - hurt American workers under the guise of cheap "T" shirts from Shrilanka. I cannot believe the labor unions have become so impotent that they cannot even turn a company like WalMart that is so brazenly anti-labor and anti-American. The treatment of employees is horrible keeping hours below full time to limit their benefit costs. This is probably one of the top five companies in the world. The Walton family has taken greed to a new level that even Gordon Gecko could admire.

July 16 2013 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cpaul19436's comment
ConnieJ

All those 'faithful, dues-paying union members' are out there shopping at Walmart, alnog with us under-paid peons.

July 16 2013 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ConnieJ's comment
ConnieJ

Excuse my dyslexia; I meant "along".

July 16 2013 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
stephen

Unions are a parasite and serve no purpose at all other then blackmailing companies by threatening to shut down businesses.In New York ,the teachers Unions vote themselves exorbant salaries at the tax payers expense.Where does the crackhead capitol get off telling a company because you are a large, employees have to be paid this rate.Has anyone ever seen a walmart employee work hard,dont think so.Welfare makes it easy for the lazy to live off the working class,it should be eliminated,maybe then these fat lazy sobs would get up and work like the rest of us have to .This is a free enterprise country,if people don't want to work for what walmart pays ,then look elsewhere.12.50 an hour to do what ?walk around the store that's all Walmart employees do anyway.

July 16 2013 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stephen's comment
cpaul19436

Stephen you are clearly a moron and it is not worth the effort to write any more than this.

July 16 2013 at 9:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cpaul19436's comment
bigpapapuff425

cpaul19436.....,I totally agree with you!!

July 16 2013 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
happiest woman

If an average working person wants to hire a maid, or a gardner, or anyone for that matter but does not want to have to pay them fairly, that individual would be laughed at, as being unreasonable and pretentious.
Why is it that multibillion dollar companies can balk at the idea of paying people fairly, and that makes sense to so may people in the world. There seems to be no amount of profit that will allow for paying their workers a living wage.

July 15 2013 at 3:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
FreddyBetty

Does anyone recall the early days of WM, back when Sam Walton tried to ensure that the majority of the product being stocked on his shelves were made the good old USA? Now it's the exact opposite....you would be hard pressed to find USA made products on those much larger, and longer shelves. The poor guy is probably spinning like one of his rotisserie chickens. Don't get me wrong, I have GREAT respect for that man and I'm sure he would have something to say to DC as well.

July 13 2013 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
phinz2u

I say go ahead and pull out of DC. There is always Sams, Costco and about 100 little guys who would gladly take the business and pay better...

July 12 2013 at 10:50 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to phinz2u's comment
Gary

Sam's is actually owned by Walmart! Do you really think any of the little guys would pay better? Or would 100 little guys even employ as many low skilled workers as one Walmart?

July 13 2013 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gldes40

so pull out..who cares..imagine the nerve of walmart...we will take our ball and go home...that kind of atitude is why walmart has gone downhill the last 5 years...good riddence

July 12 2013 at 9:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
glenbark5

These new stores won't do any good if the pay is only $8 something AN HOUR... they can get/make more money on welfair. Think people, most these new workers will have to pay for day care, and they can't afford to pay a day care, and work for the chit amount they offer at the same time. I hate WalMart and refuse to shop there.. beside that, their meats and veggies/fruits, SUCK !!!

July 12 2013 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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