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Mayor Gray Nears Final Decision on Walmart

Administration sources say mayor will veto “job killer” bill

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray expects to decide within one week whether to sign or veto a bill forcing Walmart to pay higher wages. News4's Tom Sherwood reports on whether the mayor will risk losing the Walmart stores.

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Thursday proudly participated in a news conference announcing that the city will seek 600 District citizens to help staff the new Marriott Convention Center Hotel.

“We’re excited about having all of these D.C. residents come to work in the District of Columbia,” the mayor told News4 after the event.

That’s 600 hotel jobs.

But what about the more than 1,000 jobs that Walmart says it will bring to the District if – if – the mayor vetoes a D.C. Council bill forcing Walmart to pay $12.50 an hour for wages and benefits? Walmart has threatened to abandon all six stores planned for the city if the bill becomes law.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is sending the bill to the mayor Friday. It passed the council 8-to-5 July 10. Mendelson has held up the bill hoping to craft together a majority of nine council members to override an expected veto by the mayor.

Gray publicly has played coy with the media, saying he’s waiting for the bill and weighing support for and against the Walmart measure. But members of the mayor’s staff openly call the Walmart bill a “job killer.”

News4 reported in July through sources that the mayor intends to veto the measure after he formally receives it.

The mayor said Thursday that he expects to take “several days” before making his formal decision.

You can expect the mayor to have some type of pro-jobs event when he pulls out his expected veto pen.

Some labor unions and community groups – and Chairman Mendelson – say that Walmart is one of the world’s richest corporations and can afford to pay better wages to its employees.

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