DC Shrugs at Walmart Ultimatum, OKs Living Wage

Members' not awed by company's threat to abandon city
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 11, 2013 7:22 AM CDT
Updated Jul 11, 2013 7:48 AM CDT
President and CEO of Walmart International Doug McMillan addresses the crowd during the Walmart shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Ark., Friday, June 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

(Newser) – Walmart's threats to take its toys and go home if Washington, DC, passed a "living wage" bill appear to have met with one big shrug from city council. The body voted 8-5 yesterday to approve the bill—which jacks minimum wage to $12.50 an hour for retailers with $1 billion in annual sales—just as it had before the company's threat, the Washington Post reports. "We’re at a point where we don’t need retailers. Retailers need us," says one council member. Walmart looks set to make good on at least part of its warning: Three planned stores won't be built, and three whose construction is already under way will face "review."

But the bill still needs the signature of Mayor Vincent Gray, who has cited "serious concerns over the lost jobs and retail opportunities for District residents that the bill will cause," particularly in struggling parts of the city. Meanwhile, protesters have made themselves heard on both sides of the issue, with pro-Walmart demonstrators gathering outside the council's office building and bill supporters moving between offices inside. (Read more Walmart stories.)

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