Following Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Grayâ€™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 8â€“5 vote, and an override requires nine votes. TheMetropolitan WashingtonÂ Councilâ€™sÂ Union CityÂ reports that LRAA backers are focusing on D.C. Council member Tommy Wells for the ninth vote.
Metropolitan WashingtonÂ Council President Jos Williams called on the City Council to “stand up for D.C. workers and override this veto.â€ť
DistrictÂ resident Kimberly Mitchell said Gray â€śhad 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.â€ť
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 nationâ€™s and worldâ€™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 888-264-6154Â asking him to support the LRAA and override the veto.
This article was originally printed in AFL-CIO on September 13, 2013. Â Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Â Mike HallÂ is aÂ former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for theÂ United Mine Workers Journaland managing editor of theÂ Seafarers Log. Â 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.