A bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 was sent to the full D.C. Council after a committee unanimously approved it on June 1.
The bill, which was proposed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), would take effect in 2020 if passed by the council. Fourteen other states have increased minimum wages at the beginning of the year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“This legislation will put more money in the pockets of working families, and put more people on a pathway to the middle class,” said Bowser according to Forbes magazine.
The Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs also included raising the minimum wage for workers earning tips from $2.77 an hour to $5.55.
Earlier this year, Walmart cited a potential minimum wage increase as a factor in its decision to forego building stores in two low-income neighborhoods. Along with labor costs the retailer also cited a disappointing performance at its three existing D.C. outlets and the expense of building more.
Before making the deal, some D.C. council members disagreed with opening Walmart stores in the area because of the retailer’s low wages and its refusal to allow workers to unionize, according to the Washington Post.
“It’s an outrage,” said former mayor Vincent Gray to the Post. “This is devastating and disrespectful to the residents of the East End of the District of Columbia.”
Since the Walmart decision, developers and Bowser’s administration are working to find replacement stores, according to the Post.