Wal-Mart Stores won a major victory against labor groups when Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a municipal bill that would have required big box retailers to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.
“Mayor Gray has chosen jobs, economic development and common sense over special interests – and that's good news for D.C. residents. Now that this discriminatory legislation is behind us, we will move forward on our first stores in our nation's capital,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Steve Restivo. “We look forward to finishing the work we started in the city almost three years ago: a plan to bring more jobs, shopping options and fresh food choices to Washington, D.C. residents."
Wal-Mart officials said in July the company was halting its expansion plan in the nation’s capitol after the city council pushed through a bill that required larger retailers to raise the starting wage by more than 50% over the city’s minimum. The Bentonville-based retailer announced plans to expand into Washington D.C., in late 2010 planning six stores that would have brought roughly 1,800 retail jobs to the city, according to the retailer’s website.
Three of those stores are already under construction, one recently opened and the a second is slated to open this fall.
Mayor Gray reportedly called the measure a “deal-killer” as the reason he chose to the veto the bill.