Good Jobs First Responds to Erroneous Coverage of Walmart's D.C. PR Move

Nov 23, 2011, 16:10 ET from Good Jobs First

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2011  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the organization that co-published the first, and later updated manual, Community Benefits Agreements: Making Development Projects Accountable, in 2002 and 2005, and which created the website, Good Jobs First today issued the following statement concerning Walmart's "Washington, DC Community Partnership Initiative." Executive director Greg LeRoy said:

"Walmart's statement is a public relations move. It is not an agreement and has no co-signatories. True agreements, or contracts, have co-signatories and are legally enforceable. Any uses of the words 'agreement,' or 'community benefits agreement' to describe Walmart's statement are misleading.

"Walmart is vague on the quality of its permanent jobs, with no specifics about wages or full-time hours. The projected Walmart stores may not be seeking bricks and mortar economic development subsidies, but in most states that have disclosed which companies have the greatest numbers of employees dependent upon Medicaid, Walmart tops the list. Other hidden taxpayer costs of poverty-wage jobs include State Children's Health Insurance Programs, food stamps, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. To the extent future Walmart employees in DC depend on social safety-net programs, taxpayers will be indirectly subsidizing the world's largest retailer.

"Given Walmart's use of strategic philanthropy, we urge the news media to scrutinize any future DC giving in tandem with its market-penetration efforts.

"In saying it will consult with neighboring residents and businesses, Walmart fails to mention the Respect DC coalition that has worked hard and long to convince the company to up its game. A true community benefits agreement with Respect DC would be a better deal for DC workers, communities and taxpayers."

Good Jobs First is a non-profit, non-partisan resource center promoting accountability in economic development. Founded in 1998, it is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Greg LeRoy 202-232-1616 x 211

SOURCE Good Jobs First