Worst Persons

Worst Persons in the World

It’s not every day that our legislative bodies increase the minimum wage or pass living wage bills, and after the D.C. City Council recently voted to pass a living wage bill, Mayor Vince Gray vetoed it. Because Wal Mart’s feelings were hurt.

In a letter sent to City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, DC Mayor Vince Gray (D) announced his veto of a living wage bill aimed at large employers on Thursday morning.

The bill would require retailers with $1 billion in sales or more with 75,000 square feet or larger to pay employees $12.50 an hour in combined wages and benefits with an exception for those that collectively bargain with workers. The existing minimum wage in the city is $8.25 an hour, and increasing the wage to $12.50 would raise annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker from about $17,000 to $26,000.

The good news is the city council is planning to override Gray’s veto, however at least one council member among the five who voted against it will have to change their mind for it to pass.

Wal Mart calls living wage legislation “discriminatory,” because being forced to pay people a living wage is just punishing success, right?

The 2012 election was more or less centered entirely around whether we should “punish success” or not, and I believe punishing success won. It was kind of a no-brainer since the Republicans chose to nominate the poster child of Success.

Wal Mart threatening to leave the area if they have to pay their workers enough to live on should offend any public servant who claims to represent their constituents, but this is America.

  • mrbrink

    They just opened up a Walmart in Pullman Park Chicago, and they had to create a bus route to bus in an estimated 500 employees to make $10.00 an hour in a city being attacked by bureaucratic fees and fines– transportation fees and consumption taxes– just to keep giving millions in tax breaks and incentives and discounted land and a predatory capture of local markets to the Waltons to build more Walmarts. They forced the city to invent a bus route to bus in workers to the new Walmart. It kind of reminds me of The Wall, where they’re all being led on a conveyor belt into a giant meat grinder. Delicious, discounted meat. Now in the obscene amount of wasted food section at Walmart!

  • D_C_Wilson

    Imagine how much the taxpayers could save if all of Walmart’s employees could stop using food stamps.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      Don’t worry. The House plans on taking care of that.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    Walmart is like some bacteria in the bowels of the country. If the come in and take over, pushing out the good bacteria, they completely wreck the system and then the entire body.
    I say let Walmart leave. Some large company or maybe many smaller ones will come in and replace them because there will be a built-in customer base. It would hurt in the short run but it might be worth it in the long run. Note, I realize this is easy for me to say because I have plenty of other shopping options; whereas in some neighborhoods and towns, Walmart is the ONLY store they’ve got.

    • muselet

      The other revolting thing Walmart does is demand temporary (typically five-year) tax exemptions and newly-constructed shopping centers from cities; then, when the tax exemptions are about to expire, the company moves the store to another nearby city that has built a new shopping center and has promised tax exemptions. Walmart isn’t the only company to pull this stunt, but I believe it was the first.

      It’s happened often enough that I’m surprised city officials—dumb though they tend to be—haven’t figured out the game yet.


      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        Lovely, didn’t know they did that. We’ve had something similar happen here in AZ. The state and cities offer huge tax incentives for companies to move here but, of course, the talent base is not necessarily here, the infrastructure is too old, or the transferred talent hates living here and so the companies can’t make it or decide they don’t want to work here and they leave. So we never get any taxes out of them. I believe that’s what happened with Google. We were all so excited. They came, they tried to hire, hung out for a few years and then left saying we didn’t have the talent pool. I guess no one ever said that people had to be smart to work in government. Why can’t they offer the tax incentive but tie it to the company having to stay a certain amount of time and if they leave early, penalize the company in the amount of the taxes they should have paid. Now THAT is how you devise a darn contract.

        (OT but….by the time Google left, I’d had a chance to experience the “Google interview” and thought they were complete snobs and jerks…to say there was no talent was to insult thousands of very good programmers that live in the Valley. They might not be able to calculate how many angels could fit on the head of a pin but they could definitely program. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.)

        • muselet

          I think it was the old PBS series NOW that did a story on the games big-box retailers play with cities. One city manager, I think it was, said his city financed a new shopping center built to Walmart’s specifications (only one anchor store, for example) and gave Walmart a five-year exemption on taxes (specifically including sales tax). After four and a half years, the city was looking forward to starting to get some tax revenues on the deal. One morning, the area newspaper had a story that Walmart was closing that store and opening a new one something like five miles away in another city which had done the same for the company as the first city. It was the first anyone in city government had heard of this.

          Unsurprisingly, this fellow phoned his contact person at Walmart and asked if he could come in and talk about the company’s decision. The response was, “Sure, we can talk, but the decision’s already been made. Your city’s store is closing.”

          I’m proud to say I’ve never spent a cent in a Walmart.

          From what I’ve heard, the (in)famous Google Interview is little more than a hazing ritual. Also, ironically, it’s no better at predicting mental flexibility or creative thinking than a standard, dull-and-boring interview.


          • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

            I used to work at Central Market in Austin, Texas. It was an enormous gourmet store with a produce section the size of a football field and was privately owned by Charles Butt. The business started with regular grocery stores— H.E.B.s. His was the only company that had ever (up to that point) beaten Walmart for a location. I was among the first employees who set up the departments, put shelves in, and organized the work crews. We were promised profit-sharing. A near miracle happened, and (we) they produced a profit in the first year. Then they decided to give raises instead of sharing profits. I don’t know how it turned out, but the company was sued.

            Butt kept prices low with low pay for employees, volume/volume/volume, and leasing land from Protestant churches. His father (or grandfather) who founded the store had the kind of self-made man story that has got to be bullshit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

        It seems most cities haven’t figured out that a sports franchise and a new stadium isn’t worth it either.

        • muselet

          Absolutely correct (that’s a hobbyhorse I ride regularly in real life, to the dismay of the people around me).

          Did I mention that city officials tend to be dumb?


          • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

            After what I’ve seen from board members for seven student housing co-ops, I gather they feel like big boys wheeling and dealing with other people’s money.

  • kathyseivers

    I simply do not understand why Walmart doesn’t want to pay their own employees enough so they can shop at Walmart. Seems like a win-win to me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      Does suppressing wages here help to suppress wages in the countries that manufacture the products that Walmart sells? Honest question. If anyone has a link or a source to such an analysis, I’d love to see it.

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    The Walton family is comprised of completely despicable leeches.

    Yet another reason I refuse to buy so much as an aspirin at a Walmart store.

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      I used to shop at Walmart for some of my care-giving clients, for which lower prices means the difference between having a necessity and doing without. They could do better by buying in bulk at other places, like Costco, but they just didn’t have enough disposable income every month to get ahead.

      The last time I shopped at Walmart, was during the “Countdown” to the Iraq war. I was suffering service-connected trauma at the time and was weeks away from turning myself in to the “flight deck” at my V.A. hospital. I walked into the store and the first thing I saw was a ridiculous number of television screens hanging from the ceiling with non-stop Fox coverage. My aversion to Walmart became too powerful for me to go there again.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        >>>but they just didn’t have enough disposable income every month to get ahead.

        Yeah, I understand that not everyone can afford to forgo buying from Walmart.

        I don’t think that I’ve been in a Walmart for at least 15 years. It was never a place I went to often, and then when it became public knowledge that they treated their employees so poorly, I decided to refrain from giving them any of my business at all.

        I also resent the fact that it is likely they who encouraged our manufacturing base to move the jobs to Asia,

    • mrbrink

      Yet another reason why they have an incentive to crush competition and keep setting the immoral standard for wages and benefits.

  • william trent

    A century ago Theodore Roosevelt denounced people like the Waltons as “malefactors of great wealth.” He’d certainly be kicked out of today’s GOP for saying that.

  • Ipecac

    Walmart is one of the few organizations in this country that could IMMEDIATELY make lives better for millions of Americans by offering good healthcare coverage for all of their employees and paying a higher minimum wage. They could single-handedly do a ton of good in the world.

    And it wouldn’t hurt their business one bit. With billions in quarterly profits, they could make these changes and they would barely notice.

    But they’re greedy SOBs sitting on billions in profits and stock value and won’t give up any of it to help anyone.

    • Draxiar

      But the Walton family ONLY has as much money as the bottom 40%! How will they survive if they raise someone’s pay a few dollars an hour?

  • trgahan

    Walmart’s opposition is about preventing this wage increases because they know it will benefit the people actually living off those wages. Walmart’s bottom line isn’t going to be affected more than a quarter or two having to pay better wages at a fews stores within its empire.

    What Walmart is using its extensive cash reserves to fight is wage increase legislation in general. Such legislation will subvert the job creator/47 percent/hardworking executive class/supply side economic mythos thats taken 30 years to make unquestioningly maintstream.

    Successful wage increase legislation will show people see that government can do good and be an effective means to better the average person’s life (not just the lives of those who’s net worth is in the seven figures). This cannot be allowed to stand!

    • http://www.facebook.com/felonious.grammar Felonious Grammar

      Surely these corporate vultures understand the multiplier effect. They are sacrificing higher sales for lower wages. The Affordable Care Act also loosens their stranglehold on employees. Walmart is a pathogen in our economic body.

  • Zen Diesel

    It is truly indeed shameful with the average rent inside the DC Beltway around $1800 for a single bedroom apartment.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Hell, you couldn’t live inside the beltway on 17k back in the eighties when I lived there.

      • Zen Diesel

        That is so true, ten years ago I had a girlfriend that shared an apartment with a roommate in Adams Morgans area. I believe her half of the rent was about $1600. You won’t get much relief on rent living in the Montgomery County or PG County “Maryland side” or Fairfax County “Virginia side” either.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          You’re so right, Zen!

          I also lived in Fairfax Co…………the COL is not much less there.

          I have to say though, DC is a great place to live!