Walmart Execs Run Living Wage Bill Out of Town

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed on Thursday a landmark bill that would mandate giant retailers pay a living wage, caving to public threats from Walmart that it would ditch plans to build up to six mega-stores in the city before it would agree to above-poverty pay.

The bill had already passed the city council in July, overcoming a massive Walmart PR campaign opposing it, and it was inches from being signed into law when it reached the mayor’s desk.

Washington D.C. residents blasted the mayor for bowing to corporate bullying and dealing a blow to a city struggling with high poverty and unemployment and a soaring cost of living.

“At a time when many D.C. residents are being displaced by rising costs and a lack of good jobs, this bill [sends] a clear message that D.C. residents believe everyone deserves to be paid a wage that allows them to afford to live in our city, and shop in the stores they work in,” said Reverend Graylan Hagler, pastor at Plymouth United Congregational Church of Christ and member of the Respect DC coalition.

Gray claims that he rejected the bill because he believes it would drive away employers, declaring, “I am vetoing this legislation precisely because I believe in providing a living wage to as many District residents as possible – and this bill is not a true living-wage measure.”