District Officials Ignored Residents and Got Duped By Walmart

District Officials Ignored Residents and Got Duped By Walmart

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, January 15, 2016 CONTACT Ari Schwartz, DC Jobs With Justice, (202) 674-3228, ari@dcjwj.org For a PDF of the release, click here District Officials Ignored Residents and Got Duped By Walmart Countless residents knew better than to trust Walmart, but were ignored by elected officials eager to believe the company’s false promises WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nikki Lewis, Executive Director of DC Jobs With Justice, released the following statement today after Walmart announced it will not open two stores planned for the District and will close 269 stores worldwide: “I wish I could say that I am surprised by Walmart’s plans to cancel two stores, but the sad truth is, I am not. Today’s announcement proves once again that Walmart is a company that cannot be trusted. “In meetings with residents and community leaders, the company promised to bring much-needed retail to Ward 7. Some residents were even told that wages would start at $13.50 an hour at these stores. “Unfortunately, when residents attempted to codify these promises in a written agreement, and later the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA), Walmart responded by threatening to cancel their plans to open three additional stores – effectively forcing Mayor Gray to veto the LRAA. “With today’s announcement of store closures, Walmart is canceling these plans and footing the residents of D.C. with the bill. Make no mistake, Walmart has duped the District with false promises and is now earning profit at the expense of everyone who lives here. “The District should have ignored Walmart’s threats instead of its own residents. Moving forward, the District should be cautious about believing other retailers...
Working Full-Time But Left Behind in DC’s Prosperity

Working Full-Time But Left Behind in DC’s Prosperity

Melinda Gaino has a full-time job in DC, but she struggles to make it. She earns $9.90 an hour as a cashier at Walmart on H Street, NW, bringing home about $20,000 a year. That is too little to support the 45-year old mother and her four children in their SE apartment. Melinda is an example of the many workers who have been left behind in DC’s growing economy, according to a recent report from DCFPI. She is a victim of an economy that is failing to create shared prosperity, to ensure that everyone who works hard can get by. Melinda’s life as a low-wage worker is not unique. There are thousands who work in DC every day but barely stay afloat: the lot attendants who park our cars ($9.72 average wage), the cashiers who check us out ($11.03 average wage), the people who make our sandwich for lunch ($11.43 average pay for food prep workers). These workers have not fared well, according to DCFPI’s report. Hourly earnings for DC’s lowest paid workers grew just 7 percent over 35 years, adjusting for inflation – about 2 cents per year – while the highest paid workers saw paychecks grow by 55 percent. The pay gap between the people who earn the least and those who earn the most in DC is at a record high. Melinda typifies the challenge to stay ahead in other ways. She worked at Blue Cross/Blue Shield for three years earning $15.60 an hour, but then got laid off. She searched for employment for 6 months before starting at Walmart at a much lower salary. Her...
In Less Than a Year, DC’s First Walmart Is Already Threatening Local Businesses

In Less Than a Year, DC’s First Walmart Is Already Threatening Local Businesses

Less than one year after its opening, small business owners within the immediate vicinity of a new Walmart Supercenter in the nation’s capital say their establishments are already in danger of closing, according to a new report released by Respect DC and Ward 4 Thrives. The report cites several local business owners who claim the District has granted preferential treatment to the giant retailer by removing parking spaces in front of their stores and relocating a bus stop to directly in front of the Walmart. One owner claimed her local medical supply store has suffered an estimated 25 percent loss of revenue since parking changes were made to accommodate Walmart. Jose Chavez, owner of nearby Usulután Grocery, said his store has lost 85 percent of its revenuesince the supercenter opened. “The day Walmart opened was the last day I had good sales here,” he said in a press release published with the report. As Ari Schwartz, an organizer with DC Jobs With Justice and editor of the report, explained to DCist: “When you’re shopping locally, that business owner is more often than a big box store banking locally, buying inventory locally, paying local taxes, sending their kids to a local school, all of which puts money back into communities. Walmart and giant corporate chains return their profits to their corporate headquarters and shareholders rather than D.C.” The report authors led efforts last year to prevent Walmart from opening stores in Washington without first coming to a written community benefits agreement with the surrounding neighborhoods. When the company failed to do so, the coalitionsuccessfully passed the Large Retailer Accountability Act through the city...

Tell Mayor Gray to Sign the LRAA!

July 10th was a historic day for D.C. as the DC City Council stood strong against Walmart’s bullying and threats and voted 8-5 to ensure that big box retail jobs will be good jobs for D.C. workers. Every retailer with over $1 billion in revenue and stores over 75,000 square feet will have to pay a living wage of $12.50 to their D.C. employees. Now, the fate of the LIVING WAGE BILL is in the hands of DC Mayor Gray. Click here to contact Mayor Vincent Gray NOW and tell him to sign the LIVING WAGE BILL! The DC City Council showed it would not be bullied and intimidated by Walmart’s attempt at political blackmail. Eight city council members, Phil Mendelson, Vincent Orange, David Grosso, Anita Bonds, Jim Graham, Jack Evans, Kenyan McDuffie, and Marion Barry held strong against Walmart’s threats and cast their votes in favor of the Large Retail Accountability Act. Tell the Mayor to stand with us...

Respect DC Calls on JBG to Bring Affordable Housing and Good Jobs to the Region

Coalition says developer does not deserve Developer of the Year Award when their projects are harming communities and displacing residents. WASHINGTON, D.C., October 24 – Calling for an end to development that has been bringing low wage, part time jobs and displacing longtime residents, Respect DC rallied at noon today outside the Wardman Park Marriott in DC where the JBG Companies were receiving the “Developer of the Year” award from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, at their annual meeting, which costs over $1000/per person to attend. “Developers should not be rewarded for displacing residents and bringing jobs that make it impossible to live in the area and support a family,” said Mike Wilson, with DC Jobs with Justice. “DC and the region need more affordable housing, and jobs that allow people to work full time for a living wage. Fighting to stop the First Source hiring law, bringing a low wage employer like Walmart, and replacing affordable housing units with luxury condos and hotels, only harms our community.” Respect DC is calling on JBG to bring Walmart to the table with community groups and sign a Community Benefits Agreement before they move forward on any projects with the retailer. They also demand that JBG, which sits on the board of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the group suing the DC government over the recently strengthened First Source Hiring Law, call on ABC to drop the law suit. In addition, they joined with Tenants and Workers United in calling on JBG to preserve affordable housing and not displace more than 2,000 working families residing the Beauregard redevelopment zone...

Walmart delays opening stores because of actions of community activist!

Last weekend Walmart announced that it will delay opening six stores in the District of Columbia. Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo told the Washington Post that “we’re using the extra time to further engage with the neighborhoods that surround our stores and build even more support for Walmart,”. Walmart, which had originally planned to open four stores by the end of the year, now says the first store – most likely at the corner at Georgia and Missouri avenues in Northwest – won’t open until late 2013, with the others in 2014 and beyond.“Walmart would not be altering its original timeline if company executives did not believe it needed more time to convince District residents that low-wage poverty jobs that can force workers to rely on public assistance are what D.C. needs,” said Dyana Forester of Respect DC. The Respect DC Coalition has been pushing the big-box retailer to sign a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). If you would like more information on how you can become involved in the Respect DC campaign visit www.respectdc.org or click on the Walmart:Respect DC icon on our...