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Both Politico.com and the Associated Press have stories about the ongoing debate in Washington, DC, about the "living wage" legislation passed by the DC City Council and currently awaiting a signature or veto by Mayor Vincent Gray, who has expressed concerned about the measure.

Essentially, the "living wage" bill requires non-union retailers of a certain size - occupying more than 75,000 square feet and with national sales of at least $1 billion - to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 an hour, more than four bucks more than the District's minimum wage.

Walmart has said that if the bill becomes law, it will pull out of three projects it had planned for DC, and may also decide to cancel the other three stores it had slated to open in the nation's capital.

Politico frames the story this way:

"What’s playing out in the nation’s capital has all the hallmarks of a classic union vs. business confrontation — with labor organizations, backed by their Democratic allies in office, pulling out all the stops to block what they view as a fiercely anti-union company that victimizes its workers with low wages during tough economic times. On the other side, industry supporters see the D.C. Council’s move against Wal-Mart as yet another example of short-sighted, self-interested unions and elected officials blocking job creation for those who need it most in blighted areas that deserve it most."

And the AP chimes in:

"The minimum wage in the nation's capital already is higher than the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. Other cities and states that have sought to raise the minimum wage above what is required have applied the hike to all businesses. San Jose, Calif., recently raised its minimum from $8 to $10 an hour and San Francisco's rate of $10.55 an hour is the highest in the nation.

"Still, no other city has singled out certain businesses for higher wage rates. The Chicago City Council tried to pass a similar measure seven years ago, but it was vetoed by then-mayor Richard M. Daley. Opponents have suggested the district's bill may be subject to a legal challenge, but those prospects are uncertain."
KC's View:
Ultimately, regardless of how you feel about living wage legislation, it will be a shame if those stores are not opened because these are neighborhoods that needed those jobs. What I feel bad about is that DC and Walmart are essentially playing "chicken" with people's futures, and that feeling sort of dwarfs my conflicted feelings about the legislation.