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D.C. Big Box Retailers Targeted With Minimum Wage Bill

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Advocates of a bill mandating a higher minimum wage for big box retailers rallied outside the Wilson Building Monday.
Armando Trull
Advocates of a bill mandating a higher minimum wage for big box retailers rallied outside the Wilson Building Monday.

Supporters of a minimum wage measure for employees of larger retailers in the District rallied in front of the Wilson Building today. They are fired up as the measure nears a committee vote later this month.

"If there's going to be prosperity, count us in," says Rev. Graylan Hagler before a gathered crowd.

He says he supports what he calls a "living wage" of $11.75 an hour. He warned D.C. Council members that now was not the time to cave in to business lobbyists.

"No big box store brought any of these folks to office," Hagler says. "It was those of us who walked to the polls to elect them."

Eleven out of 13 councilmembers support the Larger Retailer Accountability Act, which mandates that $11.75 minimum for retail facilities 75,000 square feet or larger. Walmart, which is set to open six stores in the District, has led the opposition to the measure saying it unfairly targets large retailers, will discourage new stores from opening here, and that will stifle future job growth.

The D.C. Chamber of Commerce says the $11.75 minimum wage will lure the best workers away from small local businesses.

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