A Call for Respect from Wal-mart in the District

The speakers at the rally demanded fair wages and fair treatment from Wal-Mart, which plans to open four locations in D.C in wards 4, 5, 6 and 7. The coalition is working to educate people about the reality of Wal-Mart’s record of paying very low wages, forcing out its competition, causing a net loss of jobs, and breaking its promises. In addition, Wal-Mart has been involved in lawsuits because of its discriminatory policies against women and its engagement in wage theft.

One local business owner spoke to the crowd on Monday about the devastating impact the opening of a Wal-Mart can have on a community’s local businesses, workers, and overall economy as he expressed his strong desire to keep it out of the district. However, most of the protestors seemed to feel the opening of Wal-Mart in our nation’s capital was inevitable at this point, and rather focused more on the need for Wal-Mart to agree to an enforceable community benefits agreement (CBA) before they opened their store doors. This CBA calls for a guarantee that Wal-Mart will treat its workers with dignity, such as by providing full-time living wage jobs with affordable health and retirement benefits, and additionally work to improve the economic situation and quality of life in the neighborhoods in which it will open.

To stay up to date with Wal-mart’s activities, check out Walmart Watch, which seeks to hold the United States’ largest corporation fully accountable for its impact on communities, workers, the environment, and the economy, as well as to challenge it to live up to its responsibilities. Also check out ILRF’s ongoing work with our Wal-Mart campaign.