For two and a half years now, Washington has been trying to figure out what, if anything, to do about the six stores Wal-Mart is planning to open in the city. The company has a pretty bad history of paying low wages and vacuuming streets of their local businesses, and activists have pushed for concessions that would at least force it to be a good corporate citizen.
But the company cut its real estate deals such that local politicians had little leverage, and most didn't want to use it anyway, lulled by promises of thousands of jobs and retail for some of the neighborhoods that need it most. Ultimately, Mayor Vincent Gray signed a "community partnership agreement" that contains goals for the hiring of local residents, but no enforcement mechanism whatsoever.
At long last, however, the D.C. Council may have found a way to squeeze something more out of the world's largest retailer: passing a bill that requires all corporations in the city with more than $1 billion in global sales and operating in spaces larger than 75,000 square feet to pay a minimum wage of $12.50, with exceptions for companies with collective bargaining agreements (read the bill here). That means that Wal-Mart, along with other big chains such as Home Depot, Costco and Macy's, would have to pay nearly 50 percent more than D.C.'s existing $8.25 minimum wage.
Publishers Notes: I happen to know of one person who is working on these new locations in D.C.. I am being told WalMart has already stopped work on one of the locations.
That being said, if there is ANY business that should get slammed for paying too little while making MORE MONEY than almost every other business in America, WalMart should be slammed.
Let them shut the damn stores down and CALL THEIR BLUFF!