The D.C. Council did not have enough votes to override a mayoral veto and require Walmart and other large retailers to pay their employees a “living wage” of at least $12.50 per hour.
The council approved the bill in July on an 8-5 vote. Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed it last week. The council needed nine votes to override the veto, but none of the five councilmembers indicated a willingness to change his or her vote.
The bill put Washington at the center of a national debate over compensation for low-wage workers and whether certain companies should be required to pay more. Gray, a Democrat, called it a “job killer” and said it would drive away Walmart and several other retailers.
Large retailers were classified in the bill as those that have stores of at least 75,000 square feet and whose parent companies have sales of more than $1 billion annually.
Executives with several major retail chains, including Walmart, urged the mayor to veto the bill. Walmart even warned it might not build six stores it planned for the District if the bill became law.
The city’s current minimum wage is $8.25, a dollar more than the national rate.