Yesterday, Walmart announced that it would cancel three of its planned D.C. locations if a key minimum wage bill is passed. The decision hinges on the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013, which would force stores with over 75,000-square-feet and their parent companies that gross $1 billion annually to pay employees $12.50 an hour, excluding benefits.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Walmart regional general manager Alex Barron wrote: "Wal-Mart will not pursue stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway, and New York Avenue, if the LRAA is passed." "What’s more, passage will also jeopardize the three stores already under construction as we will thoroughly review the financial and legal implications of the bill on those projects," he added.
After voting 8-5 in favor of the bill last month, D.C. Council will vote once more today. If passed again, the bill will be turned over to Mayor Vincent Gray. Yesterday evening, Gray sent a statement to the Council asking them to think long and hard about their decision prior to voting:
Walmart’s announcement today is immensely discouraging. We’ve worked diligently to expand entry-level job opportunities for District residents and end retail leakage to neighboring jurisdictions. The cancellation of three planned stores will surely set us back. I strongly urge the Council to consider whether this legislation will actually promote strong economic development in the District and expand job opportunities for District residents.
[via Washington City Paper]