Because they’re jerks, Wal-Mart’s corporate management is threatening to scrap the three stores it had planned to build in Washington, DC if the city council doesn’t play by its rules. What’s got them so upset? Oh, this little thing called “paying employees a fair wage.”
The DC City Council is in the midst of passing a bill that would require stores doing business in spaces of 75,000 square feet or more to pay employees at least $12.50 an hour. To put things in perspective: both of the Baltimore-area Whole Foods grocery stores are around 25,000 square feet. Wal-Mart’s total revenue for the first quarter of 2013 was $114.2 billion — and that was considered “disappointing.”
Of course, Wal-Mart could always build those stores in Baltimore instead of DC, because we don’t have a living wage law. The last time we came close, back in 2010, it failed — in part because some argued that such a law would jeopardize the planned 25th St. Station in Remington, which was to include a Wal-Mart. Now it’s two years later, there’s no Wal-Mart in sight, and Baltimoreans working minimum wage jobs still make way less than the $11.24 per hour that MIT’s living wage calculator recommends for a single adult living in the city.