Six retailers urge Mayor Gray not to pass living wage bill

(Photo courtesy Kevin Dooley via Flickr)

Executives from six major U.S. retailers, including Target and Home Depot, are urging D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to veto the living wage bill, calling it unfair and “misguided,” The Washington Post reports.

The living wage bill, known as the Large Retailer Accountability Act, requires big stores to pay minimum wages of $12.50 an hour, among other things.

In a letter posted Wednesday, the government affairs executives from Home Depot, Target, AutoZone, Lowe’s, Walgreens and Macy’s told Gray that the bill “does nothing to address the proposed goal of improving job quality.

All the companies except Lowe’s have stores in D.C.

With Wal-Mart now threatening to drop plans to build at the Skyland Town Center in Southeast Washington, Sam Franco's Discount Mart may be able to stay open longer.

"Maybe we can keep this one open until they say 'You really need to go. The bulldozer's coming next week,'" he says.

Wal-Mart didn't originally want the location, but agreed at Mayor Gray's urging, and that's one reason Franco thinks the mayor will veto.

"He's got to veto this bill because if he doesn't veto the bill Wal-Mart will walk and if Wal-Mart's walking then nothing is going to happen to this property," Franco says.

Mayor Gray is under major pressure from all sides of the Council's bill to raise the minimum wage of big retailers to $12.50 an hour.

The debate continued outside Skyland Wednesday.

"It will help D.C. residents get jobs," says Kenneth Rawlinson. "It will take some of us off the streets, help us with our families."

"I mean, do the math," says Portia Pitts. "You've got PEPCO, you've got gas, you've got rent. Wal-Mart wants to be so cheap."

The executives didn’t threaten to close stores or stop expanding, but they wrote that they would “revisit” plans to expand.

Last week, the D.C. Council passed the bill and, in turn, Walmart announced it wouldn’t go forward with three planned stores in D.C.

READ MORE at The Washington Post.