A group called Progress with Economic and Environmental Responsibility (PEER) are lobbying Columbus, Ohio officials to adopt an ordinance that would require retailers larger than 75,000 s.f. to pay “living wages” and minimum benefits to their employees. The idea is based on an ordinance that has been proposed in Chicago that would set the minimum wage for workers at big-box stores at $10 per hour. Several community groups have united to block a Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Carriage Place Shopping Center on the Northwest Side of Columbus. A Wal-Mart spokesman told the Columbus Dispatch the living wage proposal “seems pretty unfair to target one retailer specifically based on whether the store’s large enough.” Wal-Mart claims it pays an average hourly wage for full-time store workers of $9.68 an hour. That’s $17,685 a year, for a 35 hour work week, before taxes. Wal-Mart wants to build a 187,000 s.f. supercenter in Northwest Columbus, plus another store on the Far East Side. The Coalition to Protect Our Community, which includes PEER and the Northwest Civic Association, have joined forces to challenge the zoning changes for the supercenter.
For local contacts in Columbus fighting Wal-Mart supercenters, and promoting a living wage, contact [email protected]