Thursday, April 29, 2010

UPDATED: Wal-Mart items

Well it looks like if Wal-Mart actually can talk to their opposition in organized labor then hopefully there can be some movement.
Wal-Mart has agreed to hold an unprecedented face-to-face meeting with organized labor in a last-ditch attempt to break the stalemate that has stalled its planned Chicago expansion, City Hall sources said Wednesday.

The world's largest retailer has repeatedly insisted that it would not negotiate wages and that it would only agree to pay a "living wage" if the mandate applied to all Chicago retailers.

Wal-Mart is not likely to change that tune during the upcoming meeting with Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon, Secretary-Treasurer Jorge Ramirez and Ron Powell, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 881.

But the company just might sign a "community benefits agreement" that guarantees that as many as five new Chicago stores would be 100 percent built by organized labor and that neighborhood residents would be hired to work in those stores.

The City Council's Zoning Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on Pullman Park, a massive development anchored by Chicago's second Wal-Mart and first super-center that sells groceries.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), whose ward includes Pullman Park, characterized the upcoming meeting as a "huge" breakthrough.
It is indeed a huge breakthrough. While I don't quite understand why it's important that any new Wal-Mart store must be built by organized labor, I can certainly agree that these stores should be staffed by neighborhood workers. That is one reason why Beale and Brookins want to get Wal-Mart stores in their wards.

Here's another article from the Defender, perhaps it isn't saying anything new. But more plans in Pullman for the development where Wal-Mart is supposed to be located:
Beale, who said the development’s site, the former Ryerson Inc. steel plant, along with the adjacent land along the expressway is a “gold mine,” also courted other big retailers – including Costco, Dominick’s, Ikea, Jewel and Target – to anchor the development, but they all declined.

Walmart was the only large retailer to step up to the plate, he said.

“They all turned their backs on us. I didn’t want this fight, but Walmart was the only one willing to come.

This development does not take place if Walmart doesn't anchor the site. This development hinges on Walmart,” Beale told the Defender about the proposed five-phase Pullman Park development.

U.S. Bank’s non-profit community development group, Park National Initiatives, already put up $50 million to get the Pullman Park project off the ground.

The first phase of the project – expected to provide 780 construction jobs – is the building of Walmart and another big box, preferably a home improvement store. There may be a few smaller retailers added. The second phase will focus on 111th Street right off the expressway. Beale is aiming for a mid-sized hotel – one part of a chain – and a seniors facility.

Phase Three will entail a 170,000-square-foot community center with an emphasis on several sports and a school, which Beale said has been undetermined as to whether it would be a charter or traditional public school. The fourth phase would be the construction of 400 residential units, and the final phase will include retail along Doty Road.

A Walmart Supercenter would provide much needed jobs to his constituents and address the food desert issue that’s prevalent in several predominantly Black communities, the Far South Side alderman said.

Beale said he understands the union’s position, but needs for them to understand his argument and what his community is up against.
That article is worth more of a read than the excerpt provided here.

The first article is via CapFax morning shorts!

UPDATE 12:21 PM - Found this article from the Examiner about the politics surrounding Wal-Mart expansion:
Beale’s proposal goes before a city council zoning committee on May 7. If passed, it would be taken up by the full council on May 12. For an area described as a benighted neighborhood and a food desert this deal would allow it the ability to bring itself away from such descriptions and toward a better future for its residents.
Forgot to provide that information earlier.

UPDATE 12:35 PM - Another piece from NBC Chicago. Looks like Beale has one more supporter for his Wal-Mart:
Now Beale has to get the proposal past the City Council. Ald. Sandi Jackson, who has struggled to bring chain stores to her ward, is all in favor of Walmart.

“Poor communities that lack retail and industry are unable to employ its citizens and are unable to generate a tax base which also has a direct impact on public education and human services,” Jackson told the Chicago Defender. “Additionally, many urban areas are food deserts which also impact public health.”
Supposing Sandi Jackson is thinking ahead to the day that she may be able to develop that property on the lakefront that used to be home to a factory.

This quote was taken away from that article from the Defender posted here on this blog!


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  3. "Wal-Mart says that the Unions want them to pay $11.03 per hour while they currently pay an average of $11.77 to their employees at the west side store"
    so what is the problem? whats the hold up? why negotiate? why meet? why vote?
    someone is lieing


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