On March 5, members of Ward 4 Thrives showed up outside the Wilson Building for a press conference opposing Wal-Mart, but rain and high winds made the sound system unusable. Not to be deterred, they went inside to lobby for support of two bills to restrict Wal-Mart and similar retailers in DC.
People showed up for the event despite the combination of significant rain and high winds that destroy umbrellas. It was probable the wind-driven rain that meant the amplifier could not be taken out of plastic for use, as it could no then be protected.
Councilmember Phil Mendelson has introduced the "Large Retailer Community Agreement Act of 2011" and the "Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2011."
The former would require all retailers larger than 75,000 square feed in the District to sign a community benefits agreement to be administered by a "community benefits coalition." Since Wal-Mart has publicly stated they will never sign a binding community benefits agreement, this might be enough to stop all four proposed Wal-Mart locations in DC. If Wal-Mart signs here, this precedent could cost them money not only in DC, but nationwide as demands for such agreements spread. Therefore, it is in Wal-Mart's best interest to pull out of DC if this bill passes.
The second bill would directly establish a code of conduct for large retailers in DC, requiring both a living wage and affordable health benefits-neither of which Wal-Mart has ever done. Again, Wal-Mat will likely chose to leave DC alone if this bill passes, so Phil Mendelson deserves the thanks of all of us who want to keep Wal-Mart out of DC altogether.
Details on the bills:
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