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.

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Jul 14, 2013 9:32 AM CDT
Sign the bill mayor. Walmart knows if they carry out their threat the world will know they are dirtbag scum
Jul 12, 2013 5:05 PM CDT
Walmart to D.C., " Go ahead make my day "
Jul 12, 2013 2:55 AM CDT
I see a lot of Union bashing going on here which has always been an interesting subject to me. Coming from Detroit I would always hear about lazy factory workers at GM plants who couldn't get fired because they were ïn the union which I always thought was absurd. Well, now I work for UPS and most know it's a pretty grueling job but they pay REALLY well especially if you work there 5+ years as they are one of the last few, good union companies to work for. Now I see both sides of the spectrum. YES, it's true that the unions do protect lazy workers, etc. but it's a tough issue because the companies could easily target higher earning employees to get them out the door. The mind boggling one to me is how UPS drivers can get 1-2 DUI charges and keep their job!? They have to work in the warehouse for a year but can come back and drive. I agree with most of you that if your job depends on driving a heavy truck all day in traffic that should be a zero tolerance fireable offense. But let's look at the plus vs. Wal-Mart. UPS makes good profits every year while paying above average pay, great vacation benefits, TWO pensions (at least here in Arizona 1 pension & 1 trust), and the best medical & dental I've ever had. Most full-time UPS employees make $20+ an hour and often get a lot of overtime, this means they pay a lot of taxes and don't qualify for any government assistance. Even working part-time, thanks to the union I'm making $15 an hour, 5 weeks vacation, free medical & dental with $10 co-pays and appx. $8000 a year in pension benefits. IF UPS wasn't a union workplace I probably wouldn't be here, in fact most of the warehouse workers would be illegal aliens do the "jobs no americans want to do" due to low wages and little benefits. If the unions overall are SO bad, then WHY were things so good here in the 50's-80's? It seems like the more unions get rubbed out the more economic problems we have, lower quality of life for the dwindling middle class etc. Now, it takes TWO people in a household to make what one person did 20 years ago in many cases. I do not buy the estimations of many here that if Wal-Mart employees started at $10-12 an hour and progressed up from there they would have to significantly raise prices. Last year W-M raked in appx. $15.7 BILLION in profits.....do you REALLY think it would hurt W-M and they would have to raise prices significantly if they took just 1/3 of the profit and bumped up non-management employee wages? I know here in the US they have appx. 2 million employees but if they raised prices 10-20 cents for things like Doritos & Oreos I don't think anyone would care or even notice and they would shed their cruddy reputation. Btw, I'm a big Target fan & go there 10-1 times vs. Wal-Mart but I do still shop there occasionally. From what I hear Target doesn't pay much better than Wal-Mart but they do seem to donate back to the community better. Here in Az they support the local schools, you can actually register your local school to your Target card and they get a small percentage.