D.C. Mayor vetoes ‘living wage’ bill for big-box retailers

It was reported in July that there are councillors in D.C. that would mandate big-box retailers to pay their workers a higher minimum wage. Cited as a “living wage,” this legislation would have affected many retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Walgreens and Autozone.

Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray announced Thursday that he has vetoed the bill, otherwise known as Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would have forced these large retailers to pay its employees a minimum of $12.50 per hour. Gray argued that this bill would have only benefitted a small number of people and would be a job-killer.

“I am vetoing this legislation precisely because I believe in providing a living wage to as many District residents as possible – and this bill is not a true living-wage measure,” Gray wrote in a statement. “While the intentions of its supporters were good, this bill is simply a woefully inadequate and flawed vehicle for achieving the goal we all share.”

When the bill was being debated on in July, it passed eight to five and was only one vote short to maintain the power to override a veto. Councillors in support of the law are now trying to get one of their colleagues to adjust their vote.

After Wal-Mart announced that it would scrap its plans to establish stores in parts of the city, Gray made his reservations known, especially considering that Wal-Mart would have ended its stores in two majority-black, unemployed communities. The mayor also argued that it would limit retail options for consumers.

“The bill will not modestly delay economic development in underserved District neighborhoods long deprived of jobs and retail amenities; it will kill economic development in these communities for a generation,” Gray added.

Nevertheless, Wal-Mart commended the mayor for his announcement.

“Mayor Gray has chosen jobs, economic development and common sense over special interests – and that’s good news for D.C. residents,” Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said in a statement. Now that this discriminatory legislation is behind us, we will move forward on our first stores in our nation’s capital.”

Economic Collapse News has reported extensively on the negative effects of minimum wage.

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  1. Without the minimum wage we would be getting paid s nickel an hour.. And you gotta know that. Armchair libertarianism is nothing compared to 25 years in the Restaurant Industry!! People are mega-cheap to their employees Not because they “can’t afford it”.. It’s pig-nosed Greed. Plain & Simple. If they were allowed to race to the bottom & pay a nickel an hour, they would. A Living Wage is needed: screw the 1%.

    Even Capitalist John Kenneth Galbraith said the CEO’s income cannot be higher than 25 times that of the lowest paid employee, stipulating a 25:1 ratio that acts to raise all ships. You can pay the CEO a million, but not on the backs of all the minions slaving away as the yuppie get it all. The 25:1 pay scale proportion is from a mega-Capitalis!

  2. A living wage is a joke to be honest. I know many here will most likely go on a rant. Making a profit is not illegal although many think it is because they do not make the same money.

    Madmax you or I did not hire a CEO. The board of directors did and who or you and I to determine what they pay? If you want CEO money then go for it. What a company pays a CEO is none of mine or your business. Sounds like envy to me.

    When you apply for employment and land an interview you are told up front what the employer will pay you. Either you accept or reject the job offer. If you do not like your wage once you land the job you can always find a better job as it is not the employers responsibility to pay you more.

    I am old and throughout my journey thru life this is how it works. The problem today is unskilled labor thinks they are worth more and well they are not. This is just another stupid propaganda mind screwing that people think an employer owes them more. Go get the training or education to move up the ladder. I know many that make a hell of alot more at Wal mart then the minimum wage. The problem is everyone wants more money now then having to work for it.

    For once I applaud Wal Mart for not letting the politicians in a local city push them around.

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