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For about a decade Washington D.C. has been trying to coax Walmart to put in stores in the city. Walmart agreed to build some stores in D.C., which has no Walmarts at all, after years of hand wringing and coaxing.

More recently D.C. is in the final stages of enacting a new law that requires private employers to pay a living wage of $12.50 an hour. Guess who is now complaining?

This week, as the D.C. Council moves toward a final vote Wednesday on a measure that would force Wal-Mart to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour — a substantial premium over the city’s $8.25 minimum wage — the retailer is crying foul, protesting that it made the six-store deal based on current business conditions, with no expectation that those conditions might change dramatically before the first store opens.

I guess this is not surprising, but more evidence of what an amoral but evil company Walmart is. Curiously, they never complained about this in the past, and agreed to pay wages at least comparable to those in the Washington suburbs, where the high cost of living makes paying a higher wage a necessity.

Wal-Mart executives and lobbyists have repeatedly assured D.C. leaders that the company intends to pay its workers in the city at least as much as the council’s “living wage” legislation would force them to — and possibly more.

More than a year ago, a senior Wal-Mart executive, Tony Waller, told a group of D.C. clergymen that the company would pay District employees a starting salary higher than the amount now proposed by the D.C. Council, according to two people who were at the meeting.

“They promised they were going to start people at $13 an hour, and they said that over and over and over,” said the Rev. Graylan Hagler, senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church in Northeast Washington.

Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo confirmed that the company plans to pay D.C. workers at least what it says it now pays full-time employees in suburban Virginia — an average of $12.39 an hour. He nonetheless called the council’s initiative an unfair bait-and-switch tactic.

Of course it all comes down to greed, which amounts to seeing how much they can screw employees. Oh, and unions.
But if the salary the District wants to set as a floor for Wal-Mart and other large nonunion retailers is the same as what the company proposes to pay, does that constitute a change in business conditions?

Wal-Mart says it does. In recent meetings with council members and business leaders, Wal-Mart lobbyists have been specific: They say the legislation is an effort by politicians sympathetic to labor unions to protect unionized businesses by making life harder on nonunion retailers, including Wal-Mart.

I guess it's a good think I am not mayor of D.C. I would have never solicited Walmart and if they came knocking tell them to go f*** themselves until they pay their employees a living wage.

Originally posted to Guy Noir on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 05:45 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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