NBC Washington reports that even though the D.C. Council has passed a law that will not allow Walmart to locate there unless it pays an ‘living wage‘ of $12.50 per hour, the D. C. government pays its employees less than that.
The battle over Walmart has less to do with wages than it does with unions. On Friday, NewsBusters posted an article explaining exactly what is going on.
On Thursday, my colleague Jeffrey Meyer noted how the Washington Post‘s Mike DeBonis failed to explain to readers how unionized retail outlets would benefit from an exemption in the cynically-titled Large Retailer Accountability Act, the D.C. Council bill that would require large retail chains like Walmart to pay employees at least $12.50/hour.
Notice the union exemption. So what does that mean? An employee in a union store makes less than what Walmart is required to pay and is required to pay union dues out of the smaller salary he receives. In what universe does that make sense?
So it’s fine and dandy to labor union activists and liberal Democratic councilmen for a retail employee in Washington, D.C., to get paid less than $12.50/hour “living wage” under the bill, just so long as it’s through a union labor-derived collective bargaining agreement, which naturally means joining a union and paying dues to the same.
The law in question expressly forbids and declares null and void any personal arrangements and negotiations an employee could arrive at with his employer. The rights of contract of both the worker and the employer are infringed by the law, but the Post fails to see how the little guy can be a victim in all this.
If the voters in Washington D.C. re-elect the Council members who came up with this law, they deserve what they get. Walmart is not a perfect retailer, but it brings jobs and lower priced goods into an area, increasing the tax base, lowering the unemployment level, and increasing the spending power of the residents of that area. To pass a law specifically aimed at one company because they are not unionized will hurt the residents of the area–not help them.