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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Wal-Mart To Open D.C. Stores After Mayor Vetoes Higher Wages

Raishad Hardnett |
September 12, 2013 | 11:22 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray voted down a bill on Thursday that would have required large retailers to pay significantly higher wages -- and stores like Walmart are already breathing a sigh of relief. 

It's been two months since Washington, D.C.'s city council voted to pass the controversial Large Retailer Accountability Act. Under the bill, retailers earning over a billion dollars in annual sales would have had to increase wages and benefits to a combined $12.50 per hour despite the city's current minimum wage of $8.25. 

With the threat of increased costs out of the way for now, Wal-Mart vowed to continue its plans to open stores in the city. With a two-thirds majority cote, the council could, however, override the mayor's veto at its Tuesday meeting.

Still, the bill's veto sparked a wave of disappointment for many Wal-Mart workers nationwide, hundreds of whom protested this month in support of higher wages and the right to unionize.

READ MORE: Protesters Rally In Downtown L.A. Against Walmart 

But according to The Washington Post, Mayor Gray called the bill a "job-killer" in a letter to D.C. council members, stating that "nearly every large retailer now considering opening a store in the District has indicated that they will not come here or expand here if this bill becomes law."

In a statement, Wal-Mart's senior director Steven Restivo wrote: "We recognize there is a broader conversation happening in this country about jobs and opportunity and we want to be part of the solution. Retail is one of the few industries that has jobs at all levels and ongoing advancement opportunities."

Read more of Neon Tommy's Wal-Mart coverage here.

Contact Executive Producer Raishad Hardnett via email or Twitter.



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