Veto Override Battle Next Step in D.C. Living Wage Campaign

Image: Mike HallFollowing Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto Thursday of a living wage bill for workers in big-box stores such as Walmart, backers of Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) are mounting a campaign to override the veto.

The bill, which sets a $12.50 wage for workers, passed the D.C. City Council in June by an 8–5 vote, and an override requires nine votes. TheMetropolitan Washington Council’s Union City reports that LRAA backers are focusing on D.C. Council member Tommy Wells for the ninth vote.

Metropolitan Washington Council President Jos Williams called on the City Council to “stand up for D.C. workers and override this veto.”

District resident Kimberly Mitchell said Gray “had the opportunity to stand up for the residents of this city, but instead he allowed large, out of town companies, like Walmart, to threaten him and ultimately dictate the policies of our city.”

Shortly before the Council passed the bill, Walmart threatened to scrap plans to build three stores planned for the district and possibly halt construction on three others that are under way.

The Rev. Graylan Hagler, of Plymouth United Congregational Church of Christ and Faith Strategies, said:

If we cannot demand higher wages and good jobs from the nation’s and world’s largest corporations, D.C. will not be able to remain a diverse and vibrant city. We strongly urge the City Council to override this misguided veto.

If you’re in D.C., contact Wells at 888-264-6154 asking him to support the LRAA and override the veto.

This article was originally printed in AFL-CIO on September 13, 2013.  Reprinted with permission.

About the Author:  Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journaland managing editor of the Seafarers Log.  He came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.