Wal-Mart is threatening to walk away from at least three planned sites in the District of Columbia after DC lawmakers voted to require the megastore and other large nonunion retailers to provide workers with a mimimum "living wage" of $12.50 an hour.
Despite recent efforts to garner good press for the company, Wal-Mart warned legislators last week that if they imposed the living wage, they would walk away from the sites where construction has not yet begun. Alex Barron, a regional general manager for Wal-Mart U.S., also warned the legislation would jeopardize the construction of three stores that is already underway. The legislation passed on Wednesday.
DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who lives a half-mile from the Skyland shopping center in Southeast DC, where one of the new Wal-Marts was supposed to be constructed, must decide whether or not to veto the bill. Nine Council members would be required to override a mayoral veto; the bill passed the Council 8-5.
The bill requires retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more, operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger, to pay employees a minimum of $12.50 an hour; $4.25 more than DC's current minimum wage. While the bill would apply to other large retailers, like Home Depot and Costco, there are grandfather and union exceptions that make it clear the legislation is targeting Wal-Mart, according to the Washington Post.