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