Wal-Mart, which repeatedly ranks amongst the richest companies in the world, has a pretty clear business model. The model is structured on getting slave-labor based suppliers to underbid each other, fleecing Wal-Mart’s low level workers, and destroying competitors – usually local businesses – through monopoly pricing power. Needless to say it is not surprising that any even mildly farsighted people don’t want Wal-Mart in their community.
Unfortunately for Wal-Mart they ran into a farsighted crowd in DC and their loss is opening up space for reconsideration of their malevolent influence throughout the land.
The success – so far – of the anti-Wal-Mart effort that is unfolding just blocks from the Capitol is providing a legislative road map and psychological boost to opponents of big-box stores around the country.
The battle over Wal-Mart in D.C. last week quickly rose to the national stage, with major media attention and national organizations weighing in on what is often typically seen as a local issue. And the fight caught the eye of lawmakers on the Hill who are wary of what one official described as the “audacity” of this latest anti-Wal-Mart crusade.
The audacity of nope.
The lawmakers taking Wal-Mart’s bribes would rather not talk about Wal-Mart’s business model and it’s reliance on squeezing workers. But the fair wage activists had a sound strategy in DC, force Wal-Mart to pay fair wages if it wanted to come in and hollow out the surrounding businesses.
Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo told POLITICO the company has canceled plans for three sites in D.C. and is on the brink of pulling out of three remaining locations in Washington after the City Council passed the “Large Retailer Accountability Act” last week. The bill would force those retailers occupying more than 75,000 square feet and with sales of at least $1 billion to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 an hour – $3.25 more than D.C.’s minimum wage of $8.25.
The justification given by the fair wage activists for the mandated higher pay was the reliance of many Wal-Mart workers on food stamps and other public services. In essence the activists said Wal-Mart should pay its workers better so the taxpayers would not have to pickup the difference by taking care of Wal-Mart’s underpaid workers. It’s about responsibility.
And just in case you were worried, yes, six Wal-Mart heirs still have more wealth than the bottom 42% of Americans combined. So don’t cry too hard for Wal-Mart’s loss in DC.