Sept. 22, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

'Living Wage' Debate Moves Back to D.C. Council

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Gray vetoed a bill that would have forced large retailers to pay their workers a higher minimum wage. The D.C. Council will vote on a possible override of the mayor’s veto next week.

“I’ve talked to the Chamber of Commerce, I’ve talked to developers and I’ve talked to others,” Wells said. “I think now is the time we raise the minimum wage. It’s an interest for the country, the president has said himself that we need to raise the minimum wage for our citizens.”

By vetoing the legislation, Gray cleared the way for Wal-Mart to move forward with plans to open six stores in the city.

“We look forward to finishing the work we started in the city almost three years ago: a plan to bring more jobs, shopping options and fresh food choices to Washington, D.C. residents,” company spokesman Steve Restivo said in an announcement praising the mayor’s veto. The retail giant had threatened to pull out of building in D.C. if the bill became law.

Wells said the District loses sales tax dollars when residents who need low-cost goods are forced to drive to a Wal-Mart outside the city. “We’ve got neighborhoods that need grocery stores, other things like that that this bill would have prevented.”

Mendelson, a chief supporter of the bill, says good wages are about respect, and the bill is about sustainable economic development. “The District needs jobs, but they should be decent jobs with decent wages.”

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