The Broad is Back!

July 11, 2013

Ball’s in your Court, Wal-Mart

Filed under: economy,jobs,New Broads — by maggiec @ 9:34 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Yesterday I went on a bit of a tear because of Wal-Mart’s pronouncement that if DC voted for a living wage, it would not open its planned stores there.

Yesterday DC did the right thing and passed the law.

Ball’s in your court, Wal-Mart. Do you pull out and “keep face”? Or do you cut off your nose to spite your face, as my mom would say?  And how much will you lose in potential sales? I wonder.

I’m not blind to the fact that there will now not be jobs for the people Wal-Mart would have hired. But the spaces are there, ready to be filled. Perhaps a rival will come in, trumpeting the fact that it is ready to pay for good workers. Great PR and a win-win situation for all involved save Wal-Mart.

Last year Wal-Mart’s profit, profit, was $17 billion. And that was earned on the backs of people who work full time and still need government assistance to survive.  What’s wrong with that picture? Everything.

Money still doesn’t buy everything, it seems.  The Washington Post article on the vote, linked above, explains that Wal-Mart has been trying to smooth the way to a DC move for a while. It joined the Chamber of Commerce there and began to butter up the locals with “donations”.

The campaign was matched with cash. Through its charitable foundation, Wal-Mart made $3.8 million in donations last year to city organizations including D.C. Central Kitchen and the Capitol Area Food Bank, according to a company spokesman. Meanwhile, it has kept a prominent local lobbyist, David W. Wilmot, on a $10,000-a-month retainer to smooth relations with elected officials.

Thanks for the donations. Sincerely. All tax deductible, I’m assuming, but who cares. Money to feed the hungry never goes amiss. And that’s a nice chunk of change going into a lobbyist’s pocket, too. But the investment didn’t pay off. Government officials voted for people, not big business.

The bill still has to be signed by DC’s mayor and pass a congressional review period. And I’m sure Wilmot and others will be working hard to make sure it isn’t signed.  The bill doesn’t name particular stores, but mandates that businesses with corporate sales of $1 billion or more a year and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would have to pay employees $12.50 an hour to start, 50% more than the city’s minimum wage of $8.25 an hour.

A glimmer of hope, but these days, a welcome glimmer.

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