News & Politics

Wal-Mart Will Not Open D.C. Stores if Forced to Pay Living Wages

Mega-retailer would rather dip out than pay up.


Poor giant Wal-Mart is threateningto abandon plans to open three locations in Washington, D.C. if the city enacts a living wage bill targeting superstores for fair pay.  Claiming the proposed legislation "descriminates against businesses," Wal-Mart's regional director wrote in the Washington Post that Wal-Mart simply will not open new stores if they are forced to pay their employees a living wage, which "threatens to undo all that we have accomplished together." 

Just this week, Wal-Mart was listed in Fortune magazine as the #2 most profitable company in the world, but nonetheless routinely underpays and disenfranchises workers, many of whom require government assistance because they are denied fair wages, health care coverage, and bargaining power. 

If enacted, The Large Retailer Accountability Act, passed by D.C. Council in June, would require retailers (unless they have collective bargaining, in which case they are exempt) with more than 75,000 square feet and more than $1 billion a year in profit to pay employees $12.50/hr, minus benefits. But Wal-Mart, whose CEO makes more in one hour than its employees do in a year, cannot stand that idea.

The most profitable company in America would rather do as it has been doing, paying employees so little one study found up to 80%of them are on food stamps. In many states, Wal-Mart employees are the top recipients of the welfare. But rather than pay their employees $12/hr -- which a recent studyfound they could do easily --- Wal-Mart would rather tax payers feed their employees for them, not to mention cover their health care costs. 

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