Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
This post has been updated.
Walmart has decided to cancel plans for at least two of its planned D.C. stores in response to the living wage bill passed by the D.C. Council last month, according to Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander.
“Walmart is pulling out of Skyland and Capitol Gateway, and I’m pissed off,” says Alexander, referring to the company’s two planned stores in Ward 7. Alexander says Walmart representatives just visited her office and made the announcement that they are pulling out of stores they have not yet started. The company will soon send out a press release, she says.
The company has actively opposed the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013, which would require large retailers with stores over 75,000 square feet and parent companies grossing at least $1 billion per year to pay a “living wage” of $12.50 an hour, minus benefits. The bill still needs to be approved by the Council on a second vote tomorrow and signed by the mayor before it takes effect. But according to Alexander, the company does not expect the mayor to veto it, nor does she think Walmart is bluffing in order to stir up opposition to the legislation.
“I don’t think it’s a bluff,” Alexander says. “I don’t think they’d come to the councilmember who’s going to have two in her ward and bluff her.”
Three of the six planned D.C. Walmart stores are under construction. The stores at Skyland Town Center and Capitol Gateway, in addition to one at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road NE, have not yet broken ground. Alexander’s understanding of Walmart’s position would imply that all three of these stores would be canceled, though she spoke specifically to the two in her ward.
A Walmart spokesman couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery