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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:56 AM

D.C. Council Passes Living Wage Bill on First Vote

The D.C. Council on Wednesday gave its initial approval to a bill that would raise the minimum wage of workers at large retaile stores from the ordinary District minimum of $8.25 an hour to $12.50. The Large Retailer Accountability Act passed on an 8-5 vote after a nearly hour-long debate.

The bill has the strong backing of the city's labor unions and economic advocacy organizations, and was met with stiff, though not insurmountable, opposition from business groups and retail companies. In particular, the bill has been seen a jab at Wal-Mart Inc., which is in the process of opening six stores in D.C. over the next few years.

"The District government has an obligation not just to encourage the development and growth of jobs, but to encourage the development and growth of quality jobs," D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said before the vote, according to Housing Complex. Joining Mendelson in supporting the bill were Vincent Orange (D-At Large), Anita Bonds (D-At Large), David Grosso (I-At Large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Kenyan MacDuffie (D-Ward 5), and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8).

A few of the Council members who opposed the billóMuriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7)órepresent parts of D.C. where Walmart locations are set to open in the coming years. Bowser and Wells are also candidates in next year's mayoral election, and their opposition was not lost on their fellow mayoral candidate, Evans.


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