Yesterday afternoon over a hundred D.C. residents, community leaders and groups gathered at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20004 to mobilize for fair wages, good jobs and encouraging council members to be the hero and vote to override Mayor Gray’s shortsighted veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA).
The RespectDC Coalition has been hoping that those council members who voted “no” in July for the LRAA, which includes Mary Cheh, David Catania, Yvette Alexander, Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells, would have a change of heart and vote for the bill that will which would ensure that large, profitable retailers pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour to employees, has been recognized by local residents, Council Members, policy experts and economists as a bill that would help improve jobs and bolster the local economy.
Last week, Mayor Gray vetoed the legislation that would ensure that large, profitable retailers like Walmart pay a minimum of $12.50 an hour to employees. The veto has been widely criticized by residents, religious and business leaders, community activists and economists who recognize LRAA as a bill that would improve jobs and bolster the local economy.
In July, the District of Columbia’s City Council approved, by a vote of 8-5, the LRAA. The bill has been met by fierce opposition by the world’s largest retailer Walmart, and on the eve of the July vote, Walmart’s Senior Director of Community Affairs Steve Restivo threatened that Walmart would cancel three of the six stores planned for the District if the Council voted for the LRAA.
Today, Mary Cheh, Tommy Wells, Muriel Bowser, David Catania, and Yvette Alexander along with Anita Bonds, who switched her vote to “no”, failed D.C. residents and wasted an opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of so many D.C. residents and did not override the Mayor’s veto of the LRAA.
“By choosing the corporate greed of Walmart over their constituents’ need for living wage jobs, these Council members and the mayor are pursuing a race-to-the-bottom economic strategy, where whatever jobs are created will keep our neighbors mired in poverty,” said Mark Federici UFCW Local 400 president. “These politicians’ action is also fiscally irresponsible, because the District of Columbia government will now have to subsidize Walmart’s $16 billion in profits by paying for Medicaid, food stamps and other public services needed by its workers.”
New polling from Hart Research shows that voters overwhelmingly support the LRAA. Seventy-one percent of voters voiced their support in a survey conducted this weekend, with large majorities saying the bill will have positive effects not only on workers’ wages, but also on jobs, employment and the local economy. Support was particularly high in Wards 5 and 7. Additionally, 63 percent of voters said that they would be more likely to support a mayoral candidate in 2014 who supports the LRAA.
“While a minimum wage increase would be a good thing, it is not the same living wage the LRAA was calling for and some council members, like Tommy Wells and David Catania, are using their minimum wage proposals as something to hide behind,” said Kimberly Mitchell, UFCW Local 400 Macy’s member and Ward 7 resident. “If they cared about working people in the District they would understand that they could both vote to override the LRAA veto AND pass a broader minimum wage increase. We can walk and chew gum at the same time!”
For more information on the polling, visit: http://www.respectdc.org/wp-content/uploads/ME11014-DC-Voter-Survey.pdf