DC Mayor vetos ‘living wage’ bill; council to consider override

New York -- Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a controversial bill that would have required Wal-Mart Stores and other large retailers to pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour. The bill applied only to retailers with stores of 75,000 sq. ft. or larger, at least $1 billion in annual sales and non-unionized workforces.

The D.C. Council approved the bill, officially called the Large Retailer Accountability Act but more commonly called the “living wage” bill, in July on an 8-5 vote, one short of a veto-proof majority. It will consider overriding the veto, as early on Tuesday.

The mayor announced his veto a letter to the council chairman, and said he would seek a minimum-wage hike for all employers, not just large retailers.

In the letter, Gray said the bill was “not a true living-wage bill, because it would raise the minimum wage only for a small fraction of the District’s workforce.” He added the bill is a “job-killer,” citing threats from Wal-Mart and other retailers that they will not locate to the city if the bill becomes law.

Wal-Mart had made known its intent that it would abandon plans for three of the six stores it has planned for the D.C. area if the bill became law.


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