Protesters Call For Walmart Concessions | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Protesters Call For Walmart Concessions

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Walmart is seeking to gain a foothold in D.C. The retailer is planning to open four stores in the District and, while many lawmakers support the effort, there are some activists who fear Walmart will drive down wages and hurt small businesses. These activists want Walmart to make some promises.

The protesters outside the Wilson Building Monday aren't fighting Walmart's entry into D.C. –- that seems inevitable at this point. The activists, who come from labor groups, civic organizations, churches, want some concessions from the giant retailer.

"If they commit to paying $12.50 an hour, to giving good health benefits, to having job training and a really strong local hiring program, this becomes a new standard for new retail development in the city," says Mackenzie Baris of D.C. Jobs with Justice.

Baris and others want Walmart to sign a voluntary agreement, promising to do these things.

Oftentimes, when a company builds a new major development, they need government help -- a tax abatement, a subsidy, zoning approval. In return, they sign what are called Community Benefit packages. But if Walmart doesn't need help to build out its four stores, they don't have to promise anything.

Protesters say they are going to keep the pressure on Walmart and city lawmakers to make a deal happen.

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