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Group Demands Wal-Mart Pay 'Living Wages' at D.C. Stores
Sam Ford

February 7, 2011
View the Original Article

Some union members are demanding that Wal-Mart Inc. should make promises to workers when it comes to its D.C. locations.

A group calling itself the Living Wages, Healthy Communities Coalition held a Respect D.C. protest in front of the Wilson building Monday.

According to one protester, union grocery worker Frank Carter, they want the retail giant to promise it "will pay living wages and offer some sort of benefits to their employees."

Wal-Mart Inc. plans to build for four stores across D.C. in areas underserved by retailers.

"What we found is the majority of people want us here, want to take advantage of the savings our stores provide, the quality jobs," said Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo.

Some D.C. residents shopping at the Walmart in Hyattsville were glad the world's largest retailer is coming to the city.

"It's closer and it's more convenient," said Rose Mary Fennell, who lives on Capitol Hill.

Ward 4 ANC Commissioner Brenda Speakes has another concern: traffic.

"It's going strain infrastructure," she said. "You have 2,000 more cars that are going to come to that area. Two thousand."

Wal-Mart says its D.C. stores will be slightly smaller than its suburban megacenters, at 80,000 to 120,000 square feet. The first is scheduled to open by the end of 2012.