Urges Mayor Gray to Sign into Law
Local 400 President Mark P. Federici today issued the following statement about the District of Columbia City Council’s passage of the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA):
“On behalf of our 35,000 members, especially those living and working in the District of Columbia, I want to congratulate the eight D.C. City Council members who passed the Large Retailer Accountability Act. Thanks to their courage in standing up to Walmart’s brazen attempt at political blackmail, thousands of Washington, D.C., workers may now have an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
“But that depends on whether Mayor Gray stands with an Arkansas-based multinational giant raking in $16 billion in profits every year or whether he stands with Washington, D.C.’s working families.
“His decision about whether to sign or veto the LRAA will speak volumes about his values, his true loyalties, and his approach to economic development. Does he think so little of his constituents that he believes they’ll be happy with poverty jobs, or does he have the courage to support a high-road economic development strategy based on the principle that every job should be a job you can raise a family on?
“Today, retail workers in the District of Columbia are three times as likely to live in poverty as workers in non-retail jobs. The LRAA would remedy this by boosting a full-time salary to $26,000 a year and lifting a family of three to about 50 percent above the poverty level.
“This isn’t just about Walmart; it’s about all large retailers. But by acting like a bull in a china shop—or, more accurately, like a three-year-old having a temper tantrum who screams that he will take his toys and go home if he doesn’t get his way—the company has made itself the focus of attention. In fact, what it has really done is shine a spotlight on its hypocrisy. According to numerous reports, Walmart promised to pay its D.C. workers an average of $12.39 an hour, but now all of a sudden, 11 cents more an hour is reason to cancel construction of three stores? How are we supposed to believe anything the company says?
“The fact is that Costco already pays its D.C. workers a living wage and can operate profitably under the conditions of the LRAA. Yet Walmart somehow can’t?
“I urge our members to contact Mayor Gray and tell him to put the needs of retail workers first. Tell him if Walmart isn’t willing to pay its D.C. workers a living wage, we don’t need them here; instead, let’s welcome responsible retailers who will make our communities and our economy stronger.”
The eight D.C. Council members who voted for the LRAA are Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), Vincent Orange (D-At Large), Anita Bonds (D-At Large), David Grosso (I-At Large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). Local 400 members are encouraged to contact them with thanks for their votes.