Monday, April 25, 2011

Walmart "Gets Served" By DC Community Group

Washington Business Journal -- "Walmart foes on Thursday released a massive list of demands they expect the world's largest retailer to accept, in a legally binding contract, before locating in the District (it plans to open four D.C. stores by 2013). The stipulations run the gamut from a living wage ($12.50 an hour) to transit benefits ($50 per employee per month) to parking minimums (up to 2.5 free or low-cost spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space)."  Other demands include:
  • Employ at least 65 percent of its D.C. employees on a full-time basis.
  • Not ask job applicants about previous criminal convictions.
  • Use project labor agreements to construct its stores.
  • Fund all infrastructure improvements made necessary by its stores.
  • Provide free shuttle transportation to and from the nearest Metro station to each D.C. store every 10 minutes.
  • Commit to traffic alleviation studies.
  • Provide up to 2.5 free or low-priced parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space.
  • Provide secure, accessible bicycle parking, car sharing and bike sharing for workers and shoppers.
  • Not sell firearms or ammunition.
  • Employ no less than two off-duty D.C. police officers on its premises at all times.
  • Abide by a "code of conduct with regard to its employees' freedom to choose a voice on the job without interference."
  • Fund workforce training programs for D.C. residents, and use training programs as its primary avenue for hiring D.C. residents.
  • Hire at least 40 percent of its employees at each store from the ward in which the store is located.
  • Make "ongoing contributions to a fund managed by a council of community stakeholders" that will provide incentives and support to local small businesses.
  • Make ongoing payments for community funds controlled by "community advisory councils" for education and faith-based programs.
MP: It sure seems like Walmart always gets singled out, and the community groups never place similar demands on Home Depot, Target, or McDonald's?  

HT: Colin Grabow

15 Comments:

At 4/25/2011 8:55 AM, Blogger Cooper said...

As much as I want to blast the whole list, I do agree with two of them.

"Fund all infrastructure improvements made necessary by its stores.

Commit to traffic alleviation studies. "

My only reason (not because its my profession) is that there is an impact to a public good (roads), and it should be addressed by the impactor.

 
At 4/25/2011 9:43 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Two of the demands from the Respect DC Agreement dovetail logically:

" Not ask applicants about previous criminal convictions."

-> "Employ no less than two off-duty D.C. policer officers on its premises at all times."

 
At 4/25/2011 9:49 AM, Blogger Orlin said...

This is unbelievable. Wal-Mart has done more to help poor people than all unions put together.

 
At 4/25/2011 9:59 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

It's completely believable, Orlin. If the poor become wealthier and happier not only will the leftist lose out on their favourite group to pimp out, but they will also lose the battle against capitalism.

They'll fight tooth and nail to keep people poor and desperate. It's their only hope.

 
At 4/25/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Cooper,

The customers of Walmart are already paying for the roads they use to get to and from Walmart. They are either paying through gasoline taxes or through other taxes which fund road maintenance.

Walmart trucks are paying heavily for usage of highways through fuel taxes and license fees. Walmart itself will be paying property taxes and collecting sales taxes, both of which are likely used to pay for infrastructure improvements.

DC does not require the many small businesses to pay separately for the infrastructure improvements they collectively make necessary. Why should Walmart be treated any differently?

 
At 4/25/2011 12:14 PM, Blogger bob wright said...

This one is rich:

Abide by a "code of conduct with regard to its employees' freedom to choose a voice on the job without interference."

If only unions were compelled to allow their members "freedom to choose" in places like Missouri.

How about the freedom to not join a union?

Apparently, this desire for freedom is a one-way street.

 
At 4/25/2011 12:35 PM, Blogger LakeDweller said...

The line between what services the district provides and what the business is being asked to provide should be clearcut. In this case it is not.
If I were a taxpayer in DC, I would ask for an accounting of how the district will spend the $1,000,000 in taxes received from Walmart. How much of this amount will be redirected to fund services that have no benefit to Walmart?
Ultimately it is the taxpayer who decides whether they want a business friendly government. Hopefully democracy allows the majority to provide "guidance" to the elected officials.

 
At 4/25/2011 12:40 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Awful, just awful.

The Democrats need to learn that business is good for people. They should be pro-business. We get better living standards through private enterprise.

It is the military that sucks the life out of an economy.

It has gotten to the point where the Dems are anti-business, and pro-military; as they have bases, defense plants etc in their districts, and can kick back money to unions, soldiers or contractors in their distcircts and get campaign donations. Many soldiers are from low-income America, and this has increased D-Party resolve to keep bloating the military budget.

Meanwhile, let's beat up on Wal-mart.

Ugly, ugly, ugly.

 
At 4/25/2011 3:50 PM, Blogger Cooper said...

Jet,
Not being up on my DC rules I assume you're correct. I have however worked in cities that require all (above some basic threshold) new developments to perform a traffic impact study. Then, if the road facility isn't capable of handling the new traffic, the business has to assist in offsetting the impact. A project I'm working on in Franklin, NC, is encountering that very issue with a Walmart moving. Walmart is being asked to chip in on the construction of an extra turn bay from the main road. Once completed NCDOT will continue to maintain out of gas tax funds.

I should be very clear, if DC has no rule, then Walmart is under no obligation what-so-ever to follow through. I do not, however, see a general rule, that applies fairly to all businesses, a breach of government function. I see it as a sort of Pigovian tax for the public good. Reiterate, it needs to be applied fairly, no reason Wal-Mart should be singled out.

Consider the private example of internet service. If you purchase a high speed internet connection of 3 MB/s (existing roadway) and suddenly start using 10 MB/s (new wal-mart) you are either going to be capped at 3MBps or charged extra for the 10MBps. Maybe the DOT should build toll booths up in front of the shopping center to properly charge Walmart for what they consume?

The same example could be used for power lines or water mains. Every try to get a major water hook up, you have to be very detailed about how much you expect to use, on what days, etc. no reason roads shouldn’t have the same treatment.

Briefly to the funding issue (I’ve already typed too much). Yes people pay tax on gas. But they are paying for mobility; gas is used to move you from one location to the next. Walmart is paying for accessibility, a different commodity which there is a far more limited supply of in the market. The old Accessibility vs Mobility debate has been the cause of many transportation professional pub fights over the years. I get over 3 million results on Google with just those three words.

Anyways, good debate always welcome, ciao
Cooper

 
At 4/25/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Cooper: "If you purchase a high speed internet connection of 3 MB/s (existing roadway) and suddenly start using 10 MB/s (new wal-mart) you are either going to be capped at 3MBps or charged extra for the 10MBps."

Cooper, I don't see how internet usage is the same at all. It is not Walmart and its employees which dramatically increase use the roadway. It is Walmart's customers. Those customers had the option to drive right by Walmart and on to the mom-and-pop store down the street. And some do exactly that.

If Walmart is forced to pay for roadway widening, the retailer will pass those charges on to its customers. Why should Walmart's customers be charged more for the roadway use than are the customers of the mom-and-pop store? Or than are the customers of the Sonic which opens down the street?

If a road is open to all traffic, I see no reason for charging one retailer more for that roadway than the other businesses are charged for that roadway.

The property paid by Walmart and the sales taxes collected by Walmart are likely to be far greater than the sum of all the taxes paid by nearby retailers who benefit from the traffic which Walmart induces.

 
At 4/25/2011 7:10 PM, Blogger juandos said...

UM union violence lectures grab attention

'Videos showing two University of Missouri instructors advocating for union violence are making the rounds online'

 
At 4/26/2011 8:58 AM, Blogger Cooper said...

Jet,
Cooper, I don't see how internet usage is the same at all. It is not Walmart and its employees which dramatically increase use the roadway. It is Walmart's customers.

The internet is actually a great parallel, check out the level 3 vs Netflix debate. Both the internet and roads have several things in common, supply is limited in the scope of small locations, like the last road to a Walmart or a home internet. Supply is fairly unlimited in regards to the whole network for a city or internet. Consumers can choose many routes to get around but only one to gain access. People are allowed to consume unlimited quantities of the product (most home internet contract in the USA, or roads you aren’t charged each time you pull onto the road). Volume fees are paid indirectly, either through gas taxes, electrical bills, service contracts, or tire/oil/tag and other less direct taxes. And finally one persons use does in very small increments deteriorate other peoples use (congestion on roads and networks, server/router lag, intersection timing, and more).

This to me screams public good, and tragedy of the commons, does it not you?

If a road is open to all traffic, I see no reason for charging one retailer more for that roadway than the other businesses are charged for that roadway.

So you don’t think businesses should be charged for what they consume? Don’t forget businesses are not just suppliers or goods they are also consumers, and they consume things other then to just resale. But I guess I need to reiterate again, that I don’t blame or want to single out Walmart, and I don’t think this citizen’s group has a leg to stand on. I’m arguing the more broad uniform government policy. Something say requiring a traffic study for a development over 2 acres. Quick and dirty traffic studies can be done easily and cheaply. Hell I have software that I just put in the attributes of the store (Sq Ft, type of retail, etc) or other buildings and can pop out a traffic demand volume, takes <5 minutes. Then if the location has a single road access via a drive way, I think I can do the traffic assignment in 2 seconds. Total cost, ~$2. More complex locations would be different, but in total this could be easily part of the standard building permit process.

I think another point of view I’m toying with is a typical example. Say a road can safely handle 10,000 cars, 8,000 are currently on it, sure it’s a little crowded but people are satisfied. (in technical terms this is considered Level of service(LOS) D). Then lets say the ACME Corporation builds a new plant on a undeveloped lot that generates 5,000 vehicles worth or traffic. 13,000 cars on that road is no longer safe, traffic isn’t flowing and people are pissed. But it’s only the ACME cars that are suffering right? Wrong, all cars do, those who’s trip has nothing to do with ACME are not having to pay the price (in lost time, crashes etc). That is an externality that needs to be brought into the equation if the free market is to address it.

 
At 4/27/2011 10:35 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Juandos, your link posted above, Thuggery 101 and Advanced Thuggery videos, left me stunned. Thanks.

 
At 4/27/2011 6:01 PM, Blogger tom said...

@Cooper

The entire reason for public funding of roadways is that they are, by their very nature, almost always considered to be public goods. While there are certain valid criticisms of the idea, at the point where the general practice is to accept most roads as nonrival and non-excludable, there are some real issues with the subjective approach this little community group's list embraces.

That said, it's not Walmart that's actually driving the consumption of roads. Rather, it's the sum total of those who drive on the road including Walmart customers. Even accepting a model where roads are divisible and their costs are tied to an individual's consumption of them, that still wouldn't justify trying to force Walmart to bear the costs.

 
At 4/29/2011 1:48 PM, Blogger Cooper said...

lost my post. here was the best thought

Even accepting a model where roads are divisible and their costs are tied to an individual's consumption of them,

Then I ask, who should pay for catastruphic breakdowns of a public good brought about by a user?

Picture this, there is a public bridge clearly marked as having a capacity or 20 tons. Then say a semi-truck driver takes his 40 ton 18 wheeler over it and it breaks. Shoudl the public owner (city state county) be able to sue the driver or truck company for the funds to repair that bridge?

And yes before you ask, roads have an ultimate capacity. They should be publicly avaliable from yoru DOT.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home