Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Wal-Mart Snubs D.C.'s Living Wage Bill, But Will The Trend Spread?

Posted by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM
  • 19 Replies

Washington D.C. feels the minimum wage does not represent a living wage. I guess now the people who would otherwise work at Wal-Mart get to see just how much of a living wage $0 per hour equates to.

Wal-Mart Snubs D.C.'s Living Wage Bill, But Will The Trend Spread?

Workers at some large retailers in our nation’s capital could potentially be getting a raise as D.C. lawmakers gave final approval to a bill Wednesday which will require retailers of a certain size pay employees a 50% premium over minimum wage of no less than $12.50 an hour.

The living wage bill, which awaits signature by Mayor Vincent Gray (D), says retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be required to pay workers at least $12.50 an hour. The passage caused megastore Wal-Mart (WMT) to scrap plans to open three stories in the district.  

The minimum wage in Washington D.C., is currently $8.25, $1 more than the federal minimum wage. If Gray signs the bill and it passes congressional review,  stores already present in the district that meet the size criteria would have four years to comply with the legislation.

While proponents of the bill cheer the increase in the minimum wage, Gary Burtless, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, says the bill is more about targeting Wal-Mart.

Chicago lawmakers made a similar wage hike in 2006 in an attempt to keep the mega-retailer out of its city limits; however, the bill was vetoed by Mayor Richard Daley (D).

“Wal-Mart is a terrific competitor and offers low prices for lots of items including groceries,” Burtless says, “At least one of its proposed [DC] stores would have been in a neighborhood without a good supermarket alternative for residents, who would have access to a big modern grocery store with low prices.

Burtless says more expansive eligibility requirements of the wage hike would be more beneficial to the D.C. workforce.  “Why single out a single retailer for special treatment?” he says, of Wal-Mart. “If it’s so important to have a living wage, and treat workers with dignity, why is only Wal-Mart subject to the rule?”

Michael Strain, resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute, agrees the bill unfairly targets Wal-Mart, and says Washington’s mayor will likely be under pressure to veto it. The move could be great for workers, but it’s unlikely the trend will spread, because it’s too hard to pass such measures.

“Wal-Mart has a very thin profit margin,” Strain says. “Everyone’s pay just can’t be raised by 50%, and still have the company be profitable. It’s not some tech company with a massive profit margin.”

And while both Strain and Burtless admit that the mega retailer is no favorite of labor advocates for its treatment of workers, Strain argues it could be good for the local job market.

“When a Wal-Mart opens up, it gets flooded with job applicants,” Strain says. “Relative to the alternatives these workers face—it’s not that terrible. It has a staggeringly large number of employees, so presumably it means Wal-Mart is good, or better than others.  When it comes to town, people want to work there.”

by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:33 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM

When this was posted last week, I said Walmart wouldn't cave.   D.C. needs the jobs more than Walmart needs D.C.   Good for them.  You can't just decide that one company has to pay more and not everyone else.    Sheesh

candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I bet the Mayor vetoes it or they will lose all those jobs.



Quote:

“When a Wal-Mart opens up, it gets flooded with job applicants,” Strain says. “Relative to the alternatives these workers face—it’s not that terrible. It has a staggeringly large number of employees, so presumably it means Wal-Mart is good, or better than others.  When it comes to town, people want to work there

.”
jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

DC doesn't need the jobs.  There is work there, always has been.  The recession never really hit DC very hard at all.

That's not the point, though.  It's a minimum wage issue, which I'm torn on as well.  However, it's interesting that those interviewed feel that Wal-Mart, specifically, is being targeted to keep them out.

awesomemommy2
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:50 PM

My only problem with this is that everything should raise proportionately.   If current minimum wage jobs (no skill) go up to $12.50 what about the semi/moderatly skilled workers who are at $12.50 now.   Or the minimum wage workers who have worked hard at the same company for years and have had wage increases or merit increases.  How will they be compensated.    And if they move up in wages, where does it end.   Do the current $12.50's go up to $15.  Then what about the folks who make $15.   

candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:53 PM

That is why it doesn't work and you definitely cannot write a law to just include one company.  They have to be trying to stop walmart from coming there because they couldn't possibly think walmart would give in to their demands.

Quoting awesomemommy2:

My only problem with this is that everything should raise proportionately.   If current minimum wage jobs (no skill) go up to $12.50 what about the semi/moderatly skilled workers who are at $12.50 now.   Or the minimum wage workers who have worked hard at the same company for years and have had wage increases or merit increases.  How will they be compensated.    And if they move up in wages, where does it end.   Do the current $12.50's go up to $15.  Then what about the folks who make $15.   


cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:58 PM


Quoting awesomemommy2:

My only problem with this is that everything should raise proportionately.   If current minimum wage jobs (no skill) go up to $12.50 what about the semi/moderatly skilled workers who are at $12.50 now.   Or the minimum wage workers who have worked hard at the same company for years and have had wage increases or merit increases.  How will they be compensated.    And if they move up in wages, where does it end.   Do the current $12.50's go up to $15.  Then what about the folks who make $15.   

Agreed. 

With a college degree, I was only making $10 an hour in my field (journalism) when I first started out. 10 years later, I had only gotten up to $13.50 an hour. I'm all for raising the minimum wage, but the other wages have to go up as well to offset the changes. Otherwise, what's the point of getting a college degree?

awesomemommy2
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM



Quoting cjsbmom:


Quoting awesomemommy2:

My only problem with this is that everything should raise proportionately.   If current minimum wage jobs (no skill) go up to $12.50 what about the semi/moderatly skilled workers who are at $12.50 now.   Or the minimum wage workers who have worked hard at the same company for years and have had wage increases or merit increases.  How will they be compensated.    And if they move up in wages, where does it end.   Do the current $12.50's go up to $15.  Then what about the folks who make $15.   

Agreed. 

With a college degree, I was only making $10 an hour in my field (journalism) when I first started out. 10 years later, I had only gotten up to $13.50 an hour. I'm all for raising the minimum wage, but the other wages have to go up as well to offset the changes. Otherwise, what's the point of getting a college degree?

Exactly my point and it would cause anomosity between the "classes".   I also find that basing the law on the square footage of the store assinine.   So food store A is 80,000 feet and those workers make $12,50 and food store B is 70,000 and the workers do the same exact work and make a $4 an hour variance.  REALLY???


candlegal
by Judy on Jul. 16, 2013 at 2:05 PM

They honestly didn't think this through.   They couldn't have to come up with this.  If they did this just to make a point with Walmart, they failed miserably.   Walmart is big enough not to be held hostage.

Quoting awesomemommy2:



Quoting cjsbmom:


Quoting awesomemommy2:

My only problem with this is that everything should raise proportionately.   If current minimum wage jobs (no skill) go up to $12.50 what about the semi/moderatly skilled workers who are at $12.50 now.   Or the minimum wage workers who have worked hard at the same company for years and have had wage increases or merit increases.  How will they be compensated.    And if they move up in wages, where does it end.   Do the current $12.50's go up to $15.  Then what about the folks who make $15.   

Agreed. 

With a college degree, I was only making $10 an hour in my field (journalism) when I first started out. 10 years later, I had only gotten up to $13.50 an hour. I'm all for raising the minimum wage, but the other wages have to go up as well to offset the changes. Otherwise, what's the point of getting a college degree?

Exactly my point and it would cause anomosity between the "classes".   I also find that basing the law on the square footage of the store assinine.   So food store A is 80,000 feet and those workers make $12,50 and food store B is 70,000 and the workers do the same exact work and make a $4 an hour variance.  REALLY???



awesomemommy2
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting candlegal:

They honestly didn't think this through.   They couldn't have to come up with this.  If they did this just to make a point with Walmart, they failed miserably.   Walmart is big enough not to be held hostage.

Quoting awesomemommy2:



Quoting cjsbmom:


Quoting awesomemommy2:

My only problem with this is that everything should raise proportionately.   If current minimum wage jobs (no skill) go up to $12.50 what about the semi/moderatly skilled workers who are at $12.50 now.   Or the minimum wage workers who have worked hard at the same company for years and have had wage increases or merit increases.  How will they be compensated.    And if they move up in wages, where does it end.   Do the current $12.50's go up to $15.  Then what about the folks who make $15.   

Agreed. 

With a college degree, I was only making $10 an hour in my field (journalism) when I first started out. 10 years later, I had only gotten up to $13.50 an hour. I'm all for raising the minimum wage, but the other wages have to go up as well to offset the changes. Otherwise, what's the point of getting a college degree?

Exactly my point and it would cause anomosity between the "classes".   I also find that basing the law on the square footage of the store assinine.   So food store A is 80,000 feet and those workers make $12,50 and food store B is 70,000 and the workers do the same exact work and make a $4 an hour variance.  REALLY???



My hubby joked that in the 4 years they have to comply all walmarts will be reduced to 74,999 sq feet.   


ReadWriteLuv
by Silver Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 2:15 PM

This situation is a catch 22 in every sense.

Here is the thing though, Wal-Mart may employ 1000 people if they open three stores. (Just throwing a number out there.) What good does that do 95 percent of those people, really? The overwhelming majority will be part-time, making minimum wage. If they are currently unemployed and on federal assistance of any kind, a part time $8 an hour a job isn't going to change that status. They simply go from being poor, to being titled the working poor.

Wal-Mart creates its own microcosm. It pays its employees so little that they have to shop where they work, it's all they can afford.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN