September 17, 2013

Labor and Community Leaders Condemn City Council Inaction on Living Wage Bill

Vow to bring similar fights to cities around the country

Ori Korin
202-822-2127 x126

Washington, D.C. – Following Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto last week of landmark legislation that would require D.C.’s big box retailers to pay workers a living wage of $12.50 an hour, Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work launched a city-wide effort to urge key members of the D.C. City Council to join other council members in voting to overturn the veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013 (LRAA). Despite pressure from labor, clergy and community groups, the City Council vote today did not garner enough support to override the mayoral veto.

“We’re disappointed that Mayor Gray and certain city council members didn’t listen to D.C. residents and pass this commonsense bill,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work. “We all do better when we all do better—and Washington, D.C., deserves better than employers who don’t respect the community. We hope this vote sends a message to legislators in cities and towns across the country, that residents will continue to speak out and demand fair wages for workers in their city. This fight in D.C. is just the beginning.”

Over 100 D.C. residents and community leaders gathered at noon to urge the city council to override the veto. The rally for fair wages and good jobs, held on the front steps of the Wilson Building, came on the heels of a new poll that shows the LRAA has the support of 71 percent of D.C. voters. It also found that 63 percent of voters were more likely to support a mayoral candidate in next year’s elections who supports the measure.

Mayor Gray’s veto was widely criticized by residents, religious and business leaders, community activists and economists who recognized the LRAA as a bill that would improve jobs and bolster the local economy.

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Fact Sheet on the Large Retailer Accountability Act of 2013