Housing Complex

Walmart Will Cancel Three D.C. Stores, Reconsider Others if Wage Bill Becomes Law

The Walmart at 1st and H streets NW is scheduled to open later this year.

Walmart has decided to cancel plans for three of its six planned D.C. stores and reconsider the other three if a bill setting a higher minimum wage for large retailers is passed, a company executive just announced.

Minutes after informing Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander that the company would be canceling its two planned stores in her ward, Walmart confirmed in a Washington Post op-ed that it will pull out of its planned stores at the Skyland Town Center, Capitol Gateway, and the intersection of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE if the city passes the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013. The bill would require large retailers with stores over 75,000 square feet and parent companies grossing at least $1 billion per year to pay a "living wage" of $12.50 an hour, minus benefits.

"Wal-Mart will not pursue stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway, and New York Avenue, if the LRAA is passed," Walmart regional general manager Alex Barron writes in the op-ed. "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."

The op-ed was published immediately after I reported that Walmart representatives had told Alexander of their plans to cancel the stores.

The D.C. Council is set to take its second vote on the bill tomorrow, after it passed it on an 8-5 first vote last month. If it passes again, it will go to Mayor Vince Gray for his signature. Gray has not stated whether he will sign or veto it. Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo clarifies that the company will withdraw its plans for the three stores if the bill is signed by Gray and becomes law.

"While we will continue to engage with the Council leading up to July 10, we also urge Mayor Gray to veto this discriminatory legislation as it runs counter to every economic development platform his administration has identified as a priority for Washington, D.C.," Barron writes.

Update 5:45 p.m.: Gray just issued a statement urging the Council to reconsider the legislation but stopping short of a veto threat. "Walmart’s announcement today is immensely discouraging," he says. "We’ve worked diligently to expand entry-level job opportunities for District residents and end retail leakage to neighboring jurisdictions. The cancellation of three planned stores will surely set us back. I strongly urge the Council to consider whether this legislation will actually promote strong economic development in the District and expand job opportunities for District residents."

Photo by Aaron Wiener

  • R Johnson

    Wal-Mart is a bully. All cities/counties/states should demand that their citizens be able to earn a living wage. If the corporations don't pay a living wage then it falls on the shoulders to pay for essentials for the working poor.

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  • Asuka

    @ R Johnson

    It's a "bully" because it doesn't want to operate in an openly hostile environment? Walmart is not in the business of social welfare, it's in the business of selling cheap goods cheap. Just as it has a right to refuse to operate in a place like DC, so to do you have a right not to buy from it.

  • chimichanga

    Yeah, forget all that social welfare blah stuff, who do they think they are? showing up for work and doing all that worky stuff and demanding paid for it. We should be allowing walmart to use child labor too. social welfare.. pleaseeeee. Chinese got it right, let walmart do it china style!

  • NW Dave

    The twits on the Council have pretty much guaranteed that Gray will veto the bill since (as usual) they have overplayed their hand... Skyland is Gray's pet project... his legacy for Ward 7... End of story -- Walmart wins. The only upside here is that CM Orange looks like a total idiot...

  • h4pr

    I've got a calculator in front of me. I keep pushing 12.50 x 2088. I keep getting $26,100. Anyone getting anything different? If not, can anyone explain to me how $26,100 a year in Washington, DC is considered a "living wage?"

  • Ward-8

    Good riddance, those 5 brain dead Councilman apparently could care less about the history of Wal-Mart and their low wages, despite billons in sales and profit to and include the treatment of their employees while paying their CEO and owners millions in annual compensation and bonus, its further apparent these Five brain dead Councilman's care less about the welfare of the citizens who pay their salaries, yes, its all about photo op and campaign contribution. Just like Wal-Mart who should be shown the door with a swift kick in the ass and so should be the fate of these five brain dead Councilman's by their actions exhibit to me and I am sure a large percentages of citizens they could care less about their constituents earning a decent wage. We want forget.

  • S.E.

    If it's not a good deal for the citizens of the city......screw 'em!!

    Let's not have a repeat of the Nationals Stadium fiasco.

  • Anon2

    if they were basing this on actual financial impact, it would be one thing. But isn't this the wage they pay anyway? Seems to me they just don't want a distinction based on size in principle. They are welcome to not like that, but to use a threat to reverse legislation they don't like on principle seems to me just the kind of excessive corporate power over the democratic process, that concerns many people about corporations like Walmart.

  • Typical DC BS

    Amazing the amount of gibberish here from liberal morons demanding a private business be forced to pay higher wages THAN ANY OTHER RETAILER simply because of their size. If this is SUUUUCH a good idea, EVERY employer should be paying this wage.

    Of course, that's not possible, so the weenies start crying about Wal-Mart's profits (which is the whole point of being in business) and any other stupid excuse to justify their lack of business sense.

  • alex35332

    Don't let the sliding glass door hit you on the way out Walmart, you embody all that is wrong with the retail world.

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  • Mister Goat

    Screw you, Wal-Mart, ya bunch of thin-skinned bullies.

    And for those claiming that this law is only aimed at Wal-Mart, trying actually reading it. It's aimed at all stores above a certain square-footage. And it was actually supposed to hit even a wider group of stores before some council members started amending it.

  • Bac

    OH MY GOD CITYPAPER WHAT AREYOUGOINGTODO????

    AAAR!!!

    CITYPAPER

    AARRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Rightright VincentGray, it's all about the j-o- bs.

    Riiiiight. Sure thang.

  • Angela Gildner

    Walmart doesnt even pay their management well. My mother managed the photo lab in the Walmart in my home town for many years. She was expected to work 48 hours a week, she often had to working more because she was not allowed enough payroll to cover the department needs with hourly employees.. The result, her effective hourly rate was less than that of her staff.

  • noodlez

    FUCK WALMART!!!

    TELL THEM TO TAKE THEIR SORRY ASS BACK TO THE REDNECKYVILLE AND PILFER THOSE PENNY PITCHING FOLK THAT DON'T KNOW ANY BETTA.

    NO TO WALMART IN WARD 4!!!
    I HOPE THE DC BOOSTERS TEAR THAT ASS UP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AntLorenzo Anthony Lorenzo Green

    Where all the "FUCK MCDONALD'S" rants? They pay piss poor wages too?

  • BillEmm

    Shout out if your just read your 20th story for the month at WaPo and came over here!

  • Jeff

    What exact is the logic for why Wal-Mart should have to pay higher wages than anyone else? It strikes me that you are really starting to touch on equal protection issues with this. I think Wal-Mart could sue and would probably win. I know thats beside the point...they'd be better off just pulling out of DC.

    Still, I don't think I can see any moral justification behind this at all. To me, this isn't about minimum wages or living wages. If it was, the city should raise the minimum wage for everyone. I don't see how or why other companies should be allowed to pay their companies less.

    I get very queasy with the idea that government bodies should start legislating laws that are designed to affect only one company. I think its an invitation to corruption.

  • RealDC

    The city does NOT need 6 Walmarts anyway!

    LMAO- Walmart is bullying the DC pols and just like the CHUMPS they are, they will cave.....watch!

    Mayor Uno City does not know what to do...... Stop being LAZY and find other tenants for your pet projects... Geez....

    The one thing all the DC pols have in common is that they will "dance for the money", campaign donations, constituent service funds, etc. Them bamas like the "quick" and "easy" money.... a classic Bowser quote.. "corporate money is good money, I love it"... its not just her but all are "pigs at the trough".

    Jack Evans' quote is the best... "this is the worst Council,ever".... yes, Jack you are right on that, YOU are part of the worst council, ever!!

    So lets turn on Ch 13 and watch the "Monkeys" in the Wilson Building cave into Walmart's Economic Revival Plan to Save DC!!-SMH

    PS- The Monkey comment has nothing to do with race but the way this council acts, and justifies its actions like the citizens of DC are stupid. In a lot instances, the "ivory" monkeys are worse.... watch!

    Hit it Jack......."this is the worst council, ever in DC"!!! Yep, I have to agree.

  • RealDC

    @jeff- The other companies that fall into this category (ie Home Depot, Target, Costco, Trader Joes, Wegman's ) already pay this wage. So they are not complaining about this bill, Walmart is the only one whining because of their low wages..... this bill has become about Walmart because Walmart and its hired local lobbyists have made it about them....they are the "victims"...."oh, cry me a river".

    DC does NOT need 6 Walmarts!!

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  • Troy

    If you want to back a living wage, great. But back it for all businesses. Don's single out a business just because it is "large." BTW - Costco backs a higher minimum wage but does not back this particular bias legislation.

  • lexus variance

    Walmart won't lose as much revenue as they will gain by having the 5 stores in the District pay the $12.50 to employees. Thier projected margins will still be high. The problem is much broader than that. If this living-wage hike happens in the District, cities and counties all over the country will follow suit...then they will have a problem. Walmart wants to stop that scenario NOW.

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