Wal-Mart and Washington, DC, in wage showdown
The giant retailer threatens to pull out of the city if it's required to pay a 'living wage' as mandated by a pending law.
Many studies have shown that a disproportionate number of people receiving government assistance happen to work for Wal-Mart. As PolitiFact noted in 2012, that point has been proved repeatedly over the years in multiple states. Basically, it shows the high price that society otherwise pays for Wal-Mart's low prices.
City officials in Washington have proposed the Large Retail Accountability Act (LRAA), which would mandate that any retail outlet whose parent company has yearly revenue of $1 billion or more pay a higher wage. According to the Washington Post, the city eliminated a requirement that only stores with locations of more than 75,000 square feet would need to pay the higher wage so that the law wouldn't apply just to Wal-Mart.
Nonetheless, Alex Baron, a Wal-Mart general manager, argued in an op-ed published in the Post that the law is "arbitrary and discriminatory and that it discourages investment in Washington." If the City Council approves the LRAA, Wal-Mart says it will shelve plans to build three stores where construction has not started and that the law would "jeopardize" the three stores it's currently building.
City officials are taking Wal-Mart's threat seriously. Mayor Vincent Gray is threatening to veto the bill, passed by the City Council on an initial vote last month, the newspaper says. Some activists oppose the LRAA as well. A final vote is expected Wednesday.
This isn't a new issue. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed a similar bill that was passed a few years ago. The issue has also come up in New York City and probably will do so again in other cities. Of course, unions have used the issue as they've tried to organize Wal-Mart workers for years.
Wal-Mart, though, can't just hope the wage issue will blow over. Wall Street has been pressuring it to boost its U.S. sales, which have been lackluster for a while. Analysts are forecasting that sales will rise less than 1% for the next two quarters. Wal-Mart needs to expand into urban markets to perform better, but that's where it will need to pay higher wages.
Something has to give.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Ok, I will dive in this conversation. Can we all agree that people deserve to be paid enough to take care of themselves? If that was the case, we would not need most of the Federal Assistance programs. Now, if a company is irresponsible and does not pay their employees enough to cover the basics of life, those employees have to find help somewhere. If they use any Fed program, it is the taxpayers taking the responsibility of the company supplementing those employees income, while the company banks the profits.
In the case of Wal-Mart, the six top people in the Wal-Mart organization claimed a yearly salary of 18 Billion(yes it was Billion) each. Now I have to say that those people can live on 10 Billion just as easily, using the 46 Billion(6 Billion from each)to compensate each employee with a "livable wage" and health care. It is a shame that the officers of the Wal-Mart corporation have no integrity or conscience.
"City officials are taking Wal-Mart's threat seriously."
That's too bad. I don't know of a place where a Walmart has had long-term, positive changes.
Can you live on less than $12 an hr.? I bet most people that bash wages going up could not live on what they say people should make.
I'm on both sides of this fence... I don't think the government should be putting barriers in place to businesses opening at a time where unemployment is still high.
But I also not only hate Walmart because they never bring "success" to an area, but they actually have, from what I've seen, brought the opposite... They open a store and then the local business people can't compete and shut down. The people who wanted to save a few cents on that bottle of shampoo they used to get from the local drug store, or a save a couple of dollars on the plants they used to get from the local nursery or flower shop, or save twenty bucks on the tires for their car they used to get from the local garage, now lose their jobs because they used to be employed at those said business. So then the problem is compounded. The local business and local jobs are gone, so people now don't even have enough money to shop at Walmart. So Walmart closes and leaves an empty building in a community that is too big for anyone else to rent, and moves their path of destruction on to the next town.
Plus they continually pressure manufacturers to cut costs so they can pass on the "savings" to the consumer through roll-back pricing. Sounds good until the manufacturer, who is now down to just one customer - Walmart, because they drove all the local business out of business - has to cut costs through either labor (move manufacturing overseas... more jobs lost) or through materials (cheaper stuff that breaks faster) or both.
Now on the other side of the fence, I don't see how Walmart, or anyone, expects someone to live on minimum wage in an area with the cost of living that D.C. has. People are desperate, but the current minimum wage is only about $15,000 a year. I live in the metropolotan D.C. area and I know people that struggle on more than three times that amount. It's a very expensive area... so if you find people willing to take the work at that wage, what quality of employee are you hiring which your customer will have to deal with?
Wal-Mart screws there employees. You wouldn't see me shopping or working there.
stop shopping at Wal-Mart simply math.
If Govt. is so smart why not fix the economy and provide incentives to business to grow rather than shrink.
Most of the people that would be working at these stores in D.C. are probably already unemployed and on several forms of government assistance. why not get them working and help wean them off the welfare system. I was unemployed and on assistance when I started working there and now am completely independent. A "welfare to wok" program might be in order.
Pretty much we are approaching this whole thing wrong.
Take all the income in the country (should be $16 trillion our GDP) divide by the 110,000,000 workers
so the average person should be making $145,454 a year or with a 2,000 hour work year about $73 an hour should be the minimal and maximum wage.
Problem solved folks people will have enough money to live on and pay taxes to support the government.
Who needs super rich people anyway?? They are just a drag on the real economy.
Chase out Walmart. Just be prepared to hear about the lose of jobs, municipal budget crunch due to lost tax revenue, and you better increase the welfare and food stamp amounts to cover the cost difference between shopping at Walmart and the local mom and pop store.
Let's face it people if stocking shelves at the local Walmart is your only career choice, you need to realize that your life choices have not exactly been stellar. Housing, cars, cell phones, internet access, and enough food to make you morbidly obese are not what the authors of the Declaration of Independence envisioned as unalienable rights.
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