Days After Beating “Living Wage” Bill, Walmart Will Start Hiring for DC Stores

Having scored a big win with the DC government, Walmart is not wasting much time in staffing up for its planned stores.

By: Benjamin Freed

Walmart is not taking much of a break between scoring a major legislative victory against a bill over which it once threatened to cancel half its planned DC stores and actually staffing up the first of those outlets. The retailer said today it will be opening hiring centers for two District stores it aims to open by the end of 2013.

The hiring process for the stores will begin Monday, Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo says in an email. Walmart plans to eventually build six stores throughout DC, and hopes to have the first two up and running by December: one on Capitol Hill, at 1st and H Sts., NW, and one in Brightwood, on Georgia Ave., NW.

In total, Restivo says Walmart will be hiring about 300 employees at each store. News of the hiring spree comes just two days after the DC Council failed to override Mayor Vince Gray's veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act, a bill that would have forced big-box stores to pay a so-called "living wage" of at least $12.50 an hour, more than 50 percent above the District's minimum wage. While the bill technically applied to all retailers of a certain size, it was proposed with Walmart in mind as a protest to the company's average national wage of $8.81, according to the market research group IBISWorld.

Restivo tells Washingtonian that for its DC stores, Walmart intends to offer starting wages "at least $1 per hour higher than what is offered currently at Safeway and Giant." The average hourly pay for a cashier in DC is $11.28 and $13.86 for a retail salesperson, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.