Walmart, the nation’s largest retail employer is in the process of building the very first of its planned six brand-new stores in Washington, D.C., but the liberal city council plans to welcome them into the city with new legislation mandating that the company "pay their employees a 50 percent premium over the city’s minimum wage." Yet in his 27- paragraph story in the July 11 Washington Post, staff writer Mike DeBonis ignored how the legislation exempts large retailers with unionized workers from paying the premium minimum wage.
The Arkansas-based retailer has threatened to halt construction on its planned six stores, citing the fact that the added labor costs inject uncertainty about the profitability of the operations given the new law's mandates. DeBonis noted that the law requires "[r]etailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be required to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour." Curiously, however, DeBonis failed to mention an exemption in the law that shields unionized companies like grocery chain Safeway from the bill. DeBonis choose to cite union supporters who support the de facto tax on Wal-Mart, without explaining why unions would love a proposed law that would exclude them from its penalty.