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Wal-Mart to Scrap Plans for D.C. Stores If ‘Living Wage’ Bill Passes

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Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Wal-Mart will scrap plans for three of the six stores planned for D.C. if legislation requiring the retail giant to pay employees $12.50 per hour is passed.

Alex Barron, a regional general manager for the chain, made the announcement via an editorial published in The Washington Post Tuesday.

Three Wal-Mart stores are already under construction. The three that would be dropped, Barron wrote, are planned for Skyland, Capitol Gateway, and New York Avenue.

The company has been an outspoken opponent of the District’s Large Retailer Accountability Act, a bill that passed in the council in late June.

Under the legislation, if a retailer has a parent company that makes more than $1 billion per year, occupies at least 75,000 square feet and is a non-union shop, the least it would be allowed to pay employees per hour is $12.50. Current minimum wage in the city is $8.25. Federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Mayor Vincent Gray said in a statement that “the cancellation of three planned stores will surely set us back.” He’s asking the council to consider whether the bill would promote economic development.

D.C.’s Chamber of Commerce has said that other “unnamed” retailers have threatened to walk away from the city, as well. The Chamber has also spoken out about its opposition to the bill.

The bill passed 8-5, which is not enough to override a potential veto from Gray. It will have a final reading before the council Wednesday.

Barron’s editorial urges Gray to veto the bill, calling it “discriminatory” and contrary to the administration’s economic development policies.

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