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Walmart has big plans to open several stores in the Washington, D.C.—but it's now threatening to take its ball and go home if Washington's city council passes a bill requiring large retailers to pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour. (The District has a minimum wage of $8.25, a dollar above the federal minimum wage.) Alex Barron, a regional general manager for Walmart, writes in the Washington Post that:
Like any business, we have a responsibility to our customers, employees and shareholders to re-evaluate our options when it looks like local rules may significantly change. The LRAA 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.

As a result, Wal-Mart will not pursue stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway, and New York Avenue, if the LRAA is passed. What’s more, passage will also jeopardize the three stores already under construction as we will thoroughly review the financial and legal implications of the bill on those projects.

Ah, yes, Walmart's vaunted concern for customers and employees. In fact, this threat to pull out of Washington altogether likely isn't even about profit margins at the planned stores—after all, moving into a major new market has its financial rewards, even if you don't get to pay poverty wages. But there's something especially interesting about Walmart's hissy fit at the possibility of having to pay $12.50 an hour:
“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.

If you pay any attention at all, you know that Walmart's claims about average pay levels are ridiculously inflated. But if you haven't been paying attention, here's a great example: Walmart threatening to pull out of a major expansion market because it would be required to pay the wages it claims to have planned to pay anyway.

The large retailer living wage requirement has passed a preliminary city council vote, with a final vote expected Wednesday.

Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 8:18 AM PT: Tell the DC city council to stand strong and pass a living wage for workers at large retailers.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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