130903-TommyWellsCallOutIn July, the D.C. City Council passed a bill to guarantee living wages for the District’s retail workers. But outrageously, Mayor Vincent Gray is listening to Walmart instead of his constituents and is set to veto it.

The Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) would require big retailers to pay their employees $12.50 an hour – an amount that profitable companies can easily afford, but more importantly, an amount that would provide a living wage to D.C.’s retail workers. Walmart, predictably, launched an all-out lobbying and PR blitz against the LRAA and threatened to stop development of three stores in the city. And recently released emails reveal that Walmart lobbyists have been covertly collaborating with the mayor’s office to kill the bill.*

But with your help, we still have a chance of ensuring this historic bill passes.

Despite being a longtime champion for working families and even claiming he supports a living wage for all D.C. residents,** Councilman Tommy Wells is opposed to the LRAA. Since Tommy is running for mayor, we think he’s more likely to change his position if enough D.C. residents make their voice heard in favor of this commonsense bill.

Right now, the Council only needs one more vote to override the mayor’s expected veto, and the vote could happen any day. Don’t delay – Tell Tommy Wells to stand with working families and support the living wage bill.

Tommy Wells has said that he thinks this bill will unfairly target Walmart, but in fact, it would impact any large retailer with revenues over $1 billion and stores over 75,000 square feet. There’s plenty of evidence that retailers can pay a competitive, living wage in the District. Costco is a prime example – the extremely successful warehouse store pays an average wage of $20.89 an hour and 88 percent of its employees have company-sponsored health insurance.***

At a time when many D.C. residents are being displaced by rising costs, astronomical housing prices, and a lack of good jobs, this bill sends a clear message that our policymakers and residents agree that everyone deserves to be paid a wage that allows them to afford to live in our city.

As the lone swing vote, the fate of thousands of deserving workers is in Tommy’s hands. More importantly, if Tommy wants to be mayor, he cannot ignore the will of citywide workers and residents. He needs to hear from you to override the mayor’s imminent veto and stand up to Walmart. Write Tommy TODAY.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. This bill could set a national precedent for improving standards in the retail sector, in addition to securing a long-overdue raise for thousands of hard-working men and women who stock the shelves, bag our groceries, and run the registers at large stores in our city. This is our real chance to stand up against low-wage employers like Walmart.

There’s no time to sit on the sidelines. We need to give Tommy an earful and flood his inbox so we can push this historic bill into law and lift the floor for D.C. retail workers. Email Tommy Wells NOW and tell him to join the majority of Washington, D.C., and the City Council, in supporting the Large Retailer Accountability Act!

** http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/07/tommy-wells-introduces-living-wage-bill-for-all-workers-91610.html#ixzz2ci5XC3Fz
*** http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-06/costco-ceo-craig-jelinek-leads-the-cheapest-happiest-company-in-the-world