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What can Walmart do for D.C.? A lot, according to the labor-backed Respect DC coalition, which has taken the stance of demanding concessions from the giant retailer rather than opposing its entry altogether. The Post outlined a few yesterday. Below is the executive summary from the Coalition. But you’re going to have to wait until Thursday for the full, 11-page schedule of benefits that they’d like Walmart to sign. Tidbits from that not included in the summary: Requests that Walmart include free wireless in all of its stores, commit to green roofs for all stores and parking structures, provide employees with $50 per month in Metro smart benefits, and not operate before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:59 p.m. (Walmart is considering keeping some stores open 24 hours). The agreement would cover all future stores, and riders would be added to tailor benefits for each location.
The official rollout is on Thursday at Walmart headquarters at 801 8th Street NW. At the moment, organizers say they’re not actively seeking Council backing, though some have individually signaled support for a binding community benefits agreement. If Walmart were to sign the agreement, it would be enforced through binding arbitration, which its drafters think would be even stronger than something policed by the government.
Will Walmart sign? Probably not in its current form—though Walmart has made noises about working to hire locally, it’s unlikely to want to commit to a number, and though it agreed to a minimum wage of $8.75 in Chicago, it has always resisted the $12.50 “living wage” baseline in D.C. In addition, the coalition would have to figure out how to mesh the agreement with other proposals floating out there with developers of individual stores, like the Joshua Group’s agreement with the Bennett Group in Ward 6, and a document the Ward 7 ANCs are trying to negotiate with developer A&R.
But a lot of stuff in there are things that Walmart has already committed to, so a pared-down agreement wouldn’t seem to be out of the question.
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