Respect DC / Large Retailer Accountability Act


In 2010 Walmart announced plans to build six stores in DC, bringing their low-wage and small-business-destroying model to the District for the first time as part of a nationwide plan to win market share in urban centers. Retail workers and the communities Walmart planned to build in were in danger.

DC Jobs with Justice helped anchor the Respect DC coalition, which fought to make sure Walmart could only come to neighborhoods after signing legally binding community benefits agreements that would make sure residents would benefit from new development. When Walmart resisted such agreements, Respect DC pushed the DC Council to pass the Large Retailer Accountability Act which would have forced big box stores like Walmart to pay a living wage.

DC Council passed the Large Retailer Accountability Act by a vote of 8-5 — but it was vetoed by Mayor Vincent Gray. Despite a summer of activism and pressure on the Council, the coalition was not able to get the single additional vote that would have been required to override the veto. Walmart did get the message that communities in DC demanded respect. The retailer ended up building only three of the six stores they had originally proposed.

Written by Mike Wilson

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