Housing Complex

Coalition Wants 11 Pages Worth of Concessions From Walmart

What can Walmart do for D.C.? A lot, according to the labor-backed Respect DC coalition, which has taken the stance of demanding concessions from the giant retailer rather than opposing its entry altogether. The Post outlined a few yesterday. Below is the executive summary from the Coalition. But you're going to have to wait until Thursday for the full, 11-page schedule of benefits that they'd like Walmart to sign. Tidbits from that not included in the summary: Requests that Walmart include free wireless in all of its stores, commit to green roofs for all stores and parking structures, provide employees with $50 per month in Metro smart benefits, and not operate before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:59 p.m. (Walmart is considering keeping some stores open 24 hours). The agreement would cover all future stores, and riders would be added to tailor benefits for each location.

The official rollout is on Thursday at Walmart headquarters at 801 8th Street NW. At the moment, organizers say they're not actively seeking Council backing, though some have individually signaled support for a binding community benefits agreement. If Walmart were to sign the agreement, it would be enforced through binding arbitration, which its drafters think would be even stronger than something policed by the government.

Will Walmart sign? Probably not in its current form–though Walmart has made noises about working to hire locally, it's unlikely to want to commit to a number, and though it agreed to a minimum wage of $8.75 in Chicago, it has always resisted the $12.50 "living wage" baseline in D.C. In addition, the coalition would have to figure out how to mesh the agreement with other proposals floating out there with developers of individual stores, like the Joshua Group's agreement with the Bennett Group in Ward 6, and a document the Ward 7 ANCs are trying to negotiate with developer A&R.

But a lot of stuff in there are things that Walmart has already committed to, so a pared-down agreement wouldn't seem to be out of the question.

  • meegles

    I don't understand why they want Walmart to restrict it's hours. I'm genuinely puzzled. Wouldn't longer hours mean more jobs and more economic activity? I realize some workers would get crappy late night shifts but it really seems like the alternative there is no job at all.

  • Quiet

    I don't understand why anyone cares what RespectDC wants. They have no authority from the government. What exactly can they do if Wal-mart tells them no? Hold their breath and turn blue?

  • michaeliceman

    Yea...good luck with that! LOL!! If I am Walmart, I would end this whole circus in a second. I would simply say that I will agree to the same deal that Target got in Columbia Heights....and I will agree to add some neighborhood specific riders. But 11 pages....nope!

    Because my question is this...what if Walmart gets pissed off and walks? What then? Are we better off? What if they build a store just over the border in PG? How do we replace the retail and employment opportunities? Is the Distric willing to foot the bill to replace these opportunties.

    I hear a lot of sword rattling, but I have not heard what Plan B is.

  • Skipper

    Ask for the moon, receive next to nothing, bitch and moan.

  • Steve

    Free wifi? What a joke. The big impact from Walmart is that it will for decades lock urban sites into anti-transit, auto-dependent, suburban, big-box development. Walmart should be welcomed if it will be part of mixed-use developments. One idea proposed on GGW for improving the stores is to integrate into the design small retail storefronts that could be leased to a variety of businesses that would benefit from the traffic Walmart brings. But to have a monolithic big box taking up hundreds of feet of street frontage will kill pedestrian interest and walkable neighborhoods.

  • noodlez

    FUCK WALMART!

    NO TO WALMART IN WARD 4!!!

    WE DONT NEED OR WANT TO PURCHASE YOUR SHIT.

  • Pingback: The Respect DC Agreement

  • tom veil

    These Respect DC people seem to be confusing the words "WalMart" and "government." Public transit, traffic standards, funding small business initiatives, police protection, water quality standards? These are things that you ask your government to do. WalMart is where you buy sweatpants and CDs.

  • http://washingtoncitypaper.com Sara Green

    To the question about 24-hour stores:
    People who live close to a Walmart want to limit evening hours so that they can sleep. It's a fair request and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. -- Sara Green, Ward 4

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