Good riddance. Those are the two words we have for Walmart, which vows to cancel plans for at least three of six stores being built in Washington D.C. if the city requires them to pay a living wage. Walmart’s actions are in response to a city council approved ordinance requiring large retailers to pay a living wage of at least $12.50 per hour to employees.
It’s not like Walmart couldn’t afford to pay its workers a living wage. In 2012, Walmart made a profit of $16.9 billion and CEO Michael Duke saw his compensation rise 14.1 percent to $20.7 million. That’s the same as making $9,952 per hour! Walmart’s under compensation of workers is also costing the taxpayers a fortune. In fact, for each 300-person Supercenter, Walmart workers are forced to rely on $904,542 to $1,744,590 in public benefits a year.
We applaud the Metropolitan Washington Central Labor Council, local labor affiliates and community partners for their role in bringing this issue to the forefront as well as D.C. lawmakers for supporting a living wage.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. was proud to achieve a similar success just a few months ago, in which our coalition organized community protests to keep Walmart out of Newark. Our efforts resulted in securing a family-friendly ShopRite for the city which will be built and staffed union.
While Walmart will unlikely get the message that we are fed up with their greedy practices, hopefully other companies will realize the value of paying their workers a fair wage. In the long run, a living wage benefits us all through lower turnover, more loyal and productive workers, a stronger middle class, and a stable and thriving economy.