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Councilman pushing for 'living wage' from big retailers

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Capital Land,Freeman Klopott

A D.C. councilman is pushing for regulations that would require big box retailers like Walmart to pay their workers "living wages."

Walmart is planning to open several stores in the District in the next few years. A bill introduced Tuesday by at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson would require companies with more than 75,000 square feet of retail space and at least $1 billion in annual revenues to pay their workers in the District a "living wage" and benefits. Companies that have collective bargaining agreements with their workers would be exempt.

The bill defines a "living wage" as $11.75, although Mendelson indicated that might be increased during as the legislation works its way through the committee process.

"This would protect the community from a race to the bottom in terms of wages," Mendelson said.

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