NEW YORK, NY – Today Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray caved to the ultimatum issued by Walmart and vetoed a living wage bill that was passed by the D.C. City Council. The bill would have required retailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces of 75,000 square feet or larger to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour.
In response to the veto, Demos Vice President of Policy and Outreach Heather McGhee issued the following statement:
“With this veto, Mayor Gray has wasted an opportunity to boost the D.C. economy and provide its residents with good paying jobs that would strengthen the local middle class.”
Mayor Gray has wasted an opportunity to boost the D.C. economy
“While Walmart is the world’s largest private employer, millions of Americans continue to struggle under the low-wage work model that the company has pioneered, forcing many workers to rely on public assistance to take care of their basic needs. By yielding to the demands of the Walmart lobby, Mayor Gray has given the super-store the power to set low-wage standards that prevent employees from obtaining a sustainable middle-class life.”
“A Demos study shows that among year-round retail workers at the country’s biggest firms – such as Walmart – 26 percent of workers and their families live in or near poverty, and more than half contribute to at least 50 percent of their household’s total income. For Washington DC, setting the living wage at $12.50 would have added $6,453 to a full time workers’ annual income, bringing their total income to $22,100 per year, before taxes.”
“Mayor Gray’s veto comes in the midst of a national battle to improve worker pay across the board."
“Mayor Gray’s veto comes in the midst of a national battle to improve worker pay across the board. Now is the time to promote progress, not hinder its advancement.”
Demos is committed to creating pathways to ensure a strong and diverse middle class. Demos is a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.
To speak with Heather McGhee or other Demos experts, please contact:
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