D.C. Vetos Minimum Wage Increase for Walmart Employees

Alejandro Rojos, Contributing Writer


The mayor of Washington D.C., Vincent C. Gray, folded to the pressure from Walmart and vetoed minimum-wage legislation in the supermarket’s historic push into urban America. The Large Retailer Accountability Act would force large retailers, who sell more than one billion dollars a year, to pay their employees a minimum of $12.50. Gray said the bill would be a “job killer,” deterring other companies such as Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Walgreens, Autozone, and Macy’s from conducting business in the D.C. area.

Walmart threatened to end construction of three of their six stores (currently in the planning phase located in poorer areas of Washington D.C.), if the legislation were to be passed. Driving away these employers would cost nearly 4,000 jobs and impact many low-income workers who rely on such stores for a majority of their household shopping. This “living wage” that was attempted to be enacted was, in the view of Mayor Vincent Gray, “woefully inadequate and a flawed vehicle for achieving the goal we all share.”

These consumers are the stability of our economy, and raising the minimum wage for them can fuel our economy by influencing spending. With cheaper prices in large retail stores, it allows for low income workers to purchase more, fueling our economy not only vertically, but horizontally. Vertically, corporate Walmart, as well as stock holders would benefit. Horizontally, demand and production would increase in manufacturing companies, transportation companies and food companies through joint cooperation from Walmart due to higher spending in their stores. Strong lobbying efforts from Walmart and other big corporations stopped this bill from passing because it would reduce profits, but it would not cause them financial hardship.

Upfront it would appear that it would cost more, but the long term effect of raising the minimum wage would most likely result in Walmart employees spending more at their stores. Government and state officials, as well as these large companies, need to settle on a deal that would be in the best interest of the employees and the economy.

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