Washington, DC mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a bill Thursday that would have forced big retailers, like Walmart and Target, to pay wages higher than the capital’s current minimum of $8.25.
The bill, titled the Large Retailer Accountability Act and called a “job killer” by Gray, was passed by the city council two months ago. It targeted non-unionized stores with over 75,000 square feet of space and operated by companies with revenue of $1 billion per year. The stores would have been required to pay $12.50 an hour, which would have raised the annual earnings of a full-time employee from $17,000 to $26,000.
Executive Director of the labor group Jobs with Justice, Sarita Gupta, said, “This bill would have positive ripple effects across the entire District economy, because studies have shown that low-wage workers are more likely to spend extra money on local goods and services.” However, Gray called the bill a “job killer.” Walmart has proposed opening six stores in D.C. with the potential to employ up to 1,800 people, but they opposed the bill.
Backers of the bill will now try to override Gray’s veto in a council hearing on Tuesday. The bill originally passed the council in an 8-5 vote, and nine votes will be needed to override a veto.
Media Resources: The Washington Post 9/12/2013; Al Jazeera 9/12/2013