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Walmart Won't Build New Stores in D.C. If 'Living Wage' Bill Becomes Law

| by Michael Allen
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Walmart has threatened not to build three new stores in Washington D.C. if the city passes a “living wage” bill.

The Washington D.C. City Council passed the "The Large Retailer Accountability Act" (LRAA) in June by an 8-5 vote, however, a final vote is needed before it becomes law. That vote is expected this week.

The LRAA would require retail stores (such as Walmart) that make more than $1 billion per year and are at least 75,000 square feet large to pay their employees at least $12.50 per hour, noted ABC News.

Washington D.C.'s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, which is low in a city where the cost of living rivals Los Angeles.

In response to the LRAA bill, Walmart regional general manager Alex Barron recently wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post accusing Washington D.C. lawmakers of trying kill jobs and economic growth.

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The op-ed also included the threat of not opening the new Walmart stores, which many residents would likely applaud in the highly-Democratic city.

“Walmart will not pursue stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway or New York Avenue if the LRAA is passed. What’s more, passage would also jeopardize the three stores already under construction, as we would thoroughly review the financial and legal implications of the bill on those projects," Walmart regional general manager Alex Barron wrote in The Washington Post.

Ironically, Barron also bragged about Walmart meeting with residents who wanted good jobs and competitive wages, which is exactly what Walmart appears to oppose now: "Residents told us that they wanted good jobs and more affordable grocery options in their neighborhood. We also heard about issues such as local hiring, competitive wages, an inclusive construction process, local products and support for community nonprofits."

Sources: The Washington Post and ABC News