Former D.C. mayor and current city council member Marion Barry says Walmart is sticking up the city with its threat to scrap plans for up to six stores after the council voted for a "living wage" applicable only to non-union big box stores.
Appearing on Fox News Channel, the Democratic city official said that in his 16 years as mayor and 31 years of public service he has always stood up for labor. The "living wage" law requires big box retailers to pay employees at least $12.50 an hour. The minimum wage for other employers in D.C. is $8.25 an hour, one dollar more than the federal minimum wage.
Host Eric Bolling asked Barry if he didn't see a connection between the city's higher minimum wage and its higher unemployment rate. Employers such as Walmart could bring in much needed jobs, Bolling said.
Barry countered that the D.C. minimum wage equates to $26,000 a year, and it costs at least $40,000 a year to provide for a family in the city.
Besides, he said, it isn't worth it to take jobs at any price.
"What really tipped me over the edge was the fact that Walmart was sticking us up," Barry said. "Saying if you don't do this, we're gonna do that: We're gonna leave here. Suppose we did all legislation like that?"
The 13-member council passed the law with eight votes, and Barry said he is urging Mayor Vincent C. Gray to sign it.
"If he doesn't sign it, we'll take another vote and we'll override it," he said.
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