Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a bill Thursday that would require large retailers, like Wal-Mart, to pay their employees a “living wage” of at least $12.50 an hour. Last month, Wal-Mart said it would walk away from plans to build at least three stores in the District if the bill was passed.
“If I were to sign this bill into law, it would do nothing but hinder our ability to create jobs, drive away retailers, and set us back on the path to prosperity for all,” Gray told the Washington Post, adding that the bill was a “job killer.”
The bill would have forced all retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more, operating in stores 75,000 square feet or larger, to pay workers a minimum of $12.50 an hour, an increase of $4.25 from DC's current minimum wage. The bill provided an exemption for large retailers who collectively bargain with their employees. If the bill had passed, the annual earnings for a full-time employee earning the minimum pay rate would have risen to $26,000, from just $17,000.
The D.C. City Council, who approved the bill 8-5, will hold a vote next Tuesday to override the veto. An override would require votes from nine of the council's 13 members.
[Image via AP]
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