Skip to main content

For about a decade Washington D.C. has been trying to coax Walmart to put in stores in the city. Walmart agreed to build some stores in D.C., which has no Walmarts at all, after years of hand wringing and coaxing.

More recently D.C. is in the final stages of enacting a new law that requires private employers to pay a living wage of $12.50 an hour. Guess who is now complaining?

This week, as the D.C. Council moves toward a final vote Wednesday on a measure that would force Wal-Mart to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour — a substantial premium over the city’s $8.25 minimum wage — the retailer is crying foul, protesting that it made the six-store deal based on current business conditions, with no expectation that those conditions might change dramatically before the first store opens.

I guess this is not surprising, but more evidence of what an amoral but evil company Walmart is. Curiously, they never complained about this in the past, and agreed to pay wages at least comparable to those in the Washington suburbs, where the high cost of living makes paying a higher wage a necessity.

Wal-Mart executives and lobbyists have repeatedly assured D.C. leaders that the company intends to pay its workers in the city at least as much as the council’s “living wage” legislation would force them to — and possibly more.

More than a year ago, a senior Wal-Mart executive, Tony Waller, told a group of D.C. clergymen that the company would pay District employees a starting salary higher than the amount now proposed by the D.C. Council, according to two people who were at the meeting.

“They promised they were going to start people at $13 an hour, and they said that over and over and over,” said the Rev. Graylan Hagler, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church in Northeast Washington.

Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo confirmed that the company plans to pay D.C. workers at least what it says it now pays full-time employees in suburban Virginia — an average of $12.39 an hour. He nonetheless called the council’s initiative an unfair bait-and-switch tactic.

Of course it all comes down to greed, which amounts to seeing how much they can screw employees. Oh, and unions.
But if the salary the District wants to set as a floor for Wal-Mart and other large nonunion retailers is the same as what the company proposes to pay, does that constitute a change in business conditions?

Wal-Mart says it does. In recent meetings with council members and business leaders, Wal-Mart lobbyists have been specific: They say the legislation is an effort by politicians sympathetic to labor unions to protect unionized businesses by making life harder on nonunion retailers, including Wal-Mart.

I guess it's a good think I am not mayor of D.C. I would have never solicited Walmart and if they came knocking tell them to go f*** themselves until they pay their employees a living wage.

Originally posted to Guy Noir on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 05:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site