Walmart throws ultimatum at D.C.

July 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- U.S. retail giant Walmart said a living wage ordinance in the nation's capital would derail plans for three planned outlets in the city.

Less than 24 hours before a vote among district lawmakers on what is called the super-minimum-wage proposal, Walmart informed the city government that a living wage would force the company to cancel plans for three stores, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Walmart's ultimatum was "immensely discouraging," said Washington Mayor Vincent Gray.

The living wage ordinance would raise the minimum wage in stores with 75,000 or more square feet and with corporate sales of $1 billion or more. The minimum wage in those stores would rise from $8.25 per hour to $12.50 per hour, the Post said.

The Post said the vote may have to be postponed, as the ultimatum means lost jobs.

Walmart had said it would hire 1,800 people in the city.

The living wage law, meanwhile, targets only a few stores, such as Home Depot, Costco, Macy's and Walmart.

In an op-ed article, Walmart's regional manager Alex Barron wrote the law "would clearly inject unforeseen costs into the equation that will create an uneven playing field and challenge the fiscal health of our planned D.C. stores."

Barron said the law would force Walmart to cancel three plans on three stores where construction has not begun. It would also establish legal and financial concerns about three other Walmart stores in the city where construction has begun, he said.

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