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Texans Call For Boycott Of Retailers Who Fought Wage Bill

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 9, 2013

A group is calling on back-to-school shoppers to boycott Macy’s and Kroger stores in Texas this weekend, in retaliation for the national retailers’ efforts to quash a bill that would have strengthened the state’s wage discrimination law.

The bill was vetoed in June after winning bipartisan approval in the legislature. Its sponsors included state Sen. Wendy Davis, who told KERA, “if a woman didn’t discover [a pay imbalance with her male colleagues] within her first 180 days of employment she has no cause of action in the State of Texas.”

Gov. Rick Perry offered no explanation for the veto — but this week, the Houston Chronicle reported that Perry had received “letters against the measure from the Texas Retailers Association and five of its members,” including the two companies.

From NPR member station KSTX, Ryan Poppe filed this Newscast report from Austin:

“Macy’s department store and Kroger’s groceries urged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to veto the Texas Fair Pay Act, which would have allowed women to sue employers for wage discrimination in state court. Ed Espinoza of Progress Texas is leading a boycott against the retailers.

“‘Basically if they want to veto the legislation, we are saying you can veto the stores right back by not going to the stores this weekend,’ he says.

“This particular weekend is the state’s annual back-to-school tax-free holiday. Shoppers save the 6.25 percent sales tax on things like blue jeans and backpacks. Typically, Texas retailers bring in an extra 6-7 percent in sales revenue. Boycott backers want Macy’s and Kroger’s to miss out on some of that revenue bump this year.”

On the Chronicle’s story about the fight against the bill, a retailer called the measure “unnecessary.” The top-rated comment on that story came from a man who wrote, “If the bill was unnecessary, then why veto it? Goodbye Kroger and Macy’s! We’ll remember this one.”

In addition to states, large retailers have also clashed with cities over how much they pay employees recently.

Earlier this summer, Wal-Mart said it would build only half of the stores it had planned in Washington, D.C., after the city council approved a bill requiring large retailers to pay “a living wage of $12.50 an hour,” as NPR’s Allison Keyes reported on All Things Considered in July.

The passage of that bill, which came despite threats from Wal-Mart, has left some observers wondering whether Mayor Vincent Gray will veto the measure. In 2006, a similar bill was vetoed by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

In Chicago, reviews of how things went after that veto have been mixed. But city Alderman Howard Brookins told Allison that Wal-Mart’s arrival brought new development and jobs to his south side ward.

“It is attracting other businesses like Lowe’s and Pot Belly and Game Stop,” he said. “Bank of America and Chase Bank are coming.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

One Response to “Texans Call For Boycott Of Retailers Who Fought Wage Bill”

  1. Marie Tyse says:

    The other stores mentioned by Alderman Howard Brookins were not attracted to his south side location by Walmart. They were attracted by residents in the area with money to spend and no where to spend it. Those corporate giants did their homework and discovered a demographic that was shopping in areas outside their neighborhoods and decided to establish stores in Brookins' 21st Ward.

    In my view, Walmart is a festering sore on the neck and soul of this country and I'm sure most folks know the sordid history of Bank of America's unsavory conduct during the current housing crisis.

    This entire wave of union destruction, low wages, unemployment/part-time employment, privatization of schools, the closings of schools in predominately minority neighborhoods, the establishment of TIF Districts in Chicago's wealthy near Loop area (think (DePaul Sports Arena) are all traceable to the influence and money provided by ALEC, the Koch brothers, and the Heritage Foundation (Walmart is one of their biggest donors). Many of our elected officials are too ego-driven, lazy, inept, incompetent, or severely compromised to serve the people that elected them.

    People deserve to be paid a living wage. Corporations know that if people are paid more, they will spend more and perhaps advance another rung up the ladder to middle class. However, those are not the marching orders they are receiving from ALEC and the Koch brothers whose main focus is to destroy the middle class by keeping us uneducated, dependent on charity, ignorant of our rights and responsibilities, medically uninsured and so on. Wake up people!

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