Walmart Isn’t Likely to Create Extra Jobs if It Opens in DC
The DC City Council passed a living wage bill on Wednesday over the strong objections of Walmart. The company threatened to walk away from opening stores in three planned sites within the city if the bill becomes law. Now the bill heads to Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D)’s desk, where its future is uncertain.
Walmart has pushed hard to open stores in many cities, claiming that it will create local jobs and spur economic development. But the evidence from past cases paints a different picture: Walmart destroys as many jobs as it creates and doesn’t stimulate local businesses.
Walmart has claimed that the living wage bill, which would require retailers with sales of $1 billion or more and stores of 75,000 square feet or larger to pay workers a minimum of $12.50 an hour, is “arbitrary and discriminatory.” Activists argue the company can afford to pay higher wages and that it’s about making sure workers earn enough to live on.
The showdown between DC and the largest private employer in the country closely mirrors one that took place between it and the city of Chicago in 2006. That city had also proposed a living wage law, but after Walmart threatened to abandon plans to open up stores the mayor vetoed it.