Wal-Mart threatens closures of three stores in D.C. over 'living wage' law
Tactic nothing new with world's largest retailer; seen as discouraging
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer delivered an ultimatum to District lawmakers saying that they had less than 24 hours before a decisive vote. The firm threatened the closure of at least three planned Wal-Marts if a super-minimum-wage proposal becomes law. Coming a day ahead of a decisive D.C. Council vote on bill that would raise the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour, the tactic on the part of Wal-Mart is a familiar one.
The hardball tactics have been used time and again by Wal-Mart. The retailer has previously used its leverage in the form of jobs and low-priced goods to fend off legislation.
Elected officials in the Wilson Building found their usually pro-union political sentiments in conflict with their desire to bring amenities to underserved neighborhoods.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray called Wal-Mart's move "immensely discouraging," indicating that he may consider vetoing the bill while pondering whether to seek reelection.
The bill requires retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger to pay their employees no less than $12.50 an hour. The city's current minimum wage is $8.25.
The bill applies to some other retailers such as Home Depot, Costco and Macy's. However, a grandfather period and an exception for those with unionized workforces made it clear that the bill targets Wal-Mart, which has said it would open six stores, employing up to 1,800 people.
Alex Barron, a regional general manager for Wal-Mart U.S., wrote in a Washington Post op-ed piece that the proposed wage requirement "would clearly inject unforeseen costs into the equation that will create an uneven playing field and challenge the fiscal health of our planned D.C. stores."
Wal-Mart "will not pursue" stores at three locations where construction has yet to begin - two in Ward 7 and one in Ward 5, according to Barron, adding that the legislation, if passed, will also jeopardize the three stores underway. While precise terms of its agreements with developers are unknown, the company's leases could be difficult to break without major financial penalties.
A community affairs executive told a local business group last month that the three stores yet to be built could be in doubt. A company spokesman later warned of "negative consequences" should the bill become law.
Seven years ago, Wal-Mart employed a similar tactic when the Chicago City Council passed a similar "living-wage" measure.
The company indicated then that the bill would cause it to scale back or entirely scrap its plans to open several stores. Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed the bill, and the council failed to override it.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Business & Economics News
- Goodbye dollar, Move over Bitcoin, JPMorgan may be preparing to launch its own virtual currency
- China banks ban Bitcoins - virtual currency hits slump
- Black gold, Texas tea! How a major discovery in a tiny Australian mining town is about to change your world
- Unregulated? Bitcoin goes mainstream and why that's a good thing
- Casino mogul vows all-out war on online gambling
- Prepaid debit card, without fees offered by Google
- Digital killing the dinosaurs, Tribune Co. to cut 700
- Merit found in employees' complaints against Wal-Mart
- Same old tactic: Treasury to issue $1trillion in new debt at beginning of 2014
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
Disclaimer: The columns, articles, advertisers claims and any other features provided on Catholic Online Business & Economics are provided for personal finance and investment information and are not to be construed as investment advice. Under no circumstances does the information in this content represent a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security. The views and opinions expressed in an article or column are the author's own and not necessarily those of Catholic Online and there is no implied endorsement by Catholic Online of any advice or trading strategy.