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Retailers Say Expansion Plans At Risk If D.C. Living Wage Bill Takes Effect

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Six large retailers, including Target, Home Depot and Macy's have written a letter to Mayor Vince Gray urging him to veto a bill that would force certain big box retailers to pay employees a living wage.

The letter says with the passage of the bill, which the D.C. Council approved on an 8-5 vote, any future plans for retail expansion would be revisited.

After the D.C. Council voted to pass legislation calling on large retailers to pay employees $12.50 an hour, Walmart announced it would abandon three of six planned stores in D.C. Other retailers, including supermarket Wegmans, are saying the bill has made them rethink their plans to set up shop in the city.

“Arbitrary conditions that subject our stores to rules that other employers, including countless competitors, are not equally subjected to unfairly distort the marketplace and are cause for grave concern,” wrote the retailers in the letter to Gray, who has hinted that he will veto the bill.

Unions and social justice advocates, on the other hand, are pushing Gray to sign the bill, saying that it would allow employees to escape poverty. D.C.'s minimum wage is currently set at $8.25 an hour.

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