retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post reports that “organized labor has begun an assault on Wal-Mart's employment practices as the company moves to open its first D.C. store.”

The story says that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union has released the results of a new consumer survey that it commissioned, saying that 76 percent of 400 people questioned said that they would support a proposal that would require Walmart to “pay at least $12 per hour for entry-level employees, designate 75 percent of jobs for full-time work, commit to recruiting local residents for jobs and donate any tax breaks it potentially receives to charitable causes” as a prerequisite for opening the nation’s capital.

According to the story, “Voters in Baltimore and in the Philadelphia metropolitan area were given the same question and provided similar responses, with 79 percent and 75 percent, respectively, saying they were supportive.

“The three cities are the newest battlegrounds as the chain looks to expand into urban markets. The city council in Baltimore, where Wal-Mart has one store and has announced plans for another, is considering ‘living wage’ legislation that would require businesses or chains that gross more than $10 million annually to pay at least $10.59 per hour.”
KC's View:
I understand the union’s concerns, and recent developments in Chicago probably have empowered organized labor to some degree, but I simply do not understand how one retailer can be forced to pay people on a higher scale than other retailers.