D.C.

D.C. Walmart: Council votes to approve living wage bill

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The D.C. Council has voted 8-5 Wednesday to approve the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which forces big box retailers to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.

Walmart, which threatened to pull out of three proposed Walmarts in D.C. if the legislation passed, said in a statement immediately after the vote that it won't go forward with Walmarts at Skyland, Capitol Gateway and New York Avenue.

"This was a difficult decision for us - and unfortunate news for most D.C. residents - but the Council has forced our hand," Walmart said in a statement.

The Large Retailer Accountability Act is aimed at retailers like Walmart as a way to get them to pay their employees what they say is a more competitive salary. However, Walmart has long opposed the legislation, saying that it discourages investment in the city.

The councilmembers who voted for the bill are Marion Barry, Anita Bonds, Jack Evans, Jim Graham, David Grasso, Kenyan McDuffie, Phil Mendelson and Vincent Orange.

Those who voting no are Yvette Alexander, Muriel Bowser, David Catania, Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells.

But what do shoppers at Maryland and Virginia Walmarts think of the news?

In the Alexandria part of Fairfax County, many think that the D.C. Council made a mistake by forcing the company to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour at its planned stores. Daryl Cunningham of Alexandria says, "I don't think DC should tell Walmart what wage to charge."

But on the other side of the debate, Christie Hernandez of Alexandria says that a Walmart is definitely needed in D.C., and that the city is missing out on a potentially huge boost to its economy.

“There are all these jobs they could have had, Hernandez says. “Now just because of a pay raise, there's not going to be a job at all."

Chequetta Washington, a District resident also thinks the D.C. Council did the right thing in supporting the bill: “It's costly to live in DC. I feel like they looked out for the residents."

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