Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Council OKs city's third Wal-Mart

Without a word of debate today, a City Council once bitterly divided on the issue approved Chicago’s third Wal-Mart — at 83rd and Stewart in Chatham.

After authorizing just one Wal-Mart in the last six years, the City Council has now signed off on two in the past month — with more to follow as part of the retailer’s $1 billion Chicago expansion.

The 41 to 4 vote was a long-awaited victory for Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), who had waged a six-year quest for a Wal-Mart, only to be leapfrogged by Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) in the Wal-Mart sweepstakes.

Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Eugene Schulter (47th) and Joe Moore (49th) cast the only no votes.

“I’m glad it’s over. It seems like it’s been ‘Ground Hog Day’ for the last six years. Every day, I woke up talking about Wal-Mart. Finally, we can start putting people to work in the 21st Ward,” Brookins said.

Asked what took so long, Brookins said, “Clearly, the unions had a stranglehold on the Council. And there was a perception that the [Austin neighborhood around] the store on the West Side was in much more desperate straits for economic development and job opportunities.”
Yup the Pullman store is the second to be approved in Chicago, but the Chatham Wal-Mart had languished in committees for six years before it came before the city council. The Pullman store should open by 2012, but the Chatham Market store should open by late next year.

Here's more:
Moore said he thought about using a parliamentary maneuver to delay approval of the Chatham Wal-Mart because if Mayor Daley “wants it that bad, he could sign the document tomorrow. Why should we wear the jacket for it?”

But Moore ultimately decided against the temporary delay, well aware that Wal-Mart had the votes.
It happened after Wal-Mart and organized labor cut an unprecedented deal that calls for the world’s largest retailer to pay its starting Chicago employees at least $8.75-an-hour — 50 cents above Illinois’ minimum wage.

So long as Wal-Mart lives up to those terms — and its promises to hire community residents to work in its Chicago stores and union members to build them, the Chicago Federation of Labor will not oppose the expansion.

Since the Chatham site was already zoned for a big-box store, Mayor Daley could have gone around the City Council and approved the Chatham Wal-Mart with the stroke of a pen.

But the mayor wanted the City Council to go on record to send a message loud and clear that aldermen had been “educated” on the issue — and that Chicago was now open for business.

“If Mayor Daley does it, [you’d say], ‘The boss does it. He just like rams it down.’ . . . Your headline would say, ‘Look at Mayor Daley. He doesn’t care about the people. He doesn’t listen to anybody.’ I know what you’re gonna do. I’m a ping-pong ball every day for you,” Daley said last week.
Like I said earlier, Brookins may have been the last so far to get that Wal-Mart, but he has the better deal. He'll get his sooner! But it took the Pullman store to be approved first with any agreement between Wal-Mart executives and those opposed to Wal-Mart to come to an agreement for more stores in the city.

Either way let's discuss this issue. Do you think our community will change as a result of a Wal-Mart coming near by? Also let's avoid awful generalizations of different ethnic groups or people of a certain economic class. Be sure to talk about issues that will come up when the Chatham Market Wal-Mart is finally open for business.

UPDATE 2:23 PM Does a story on a site such as CNBC mean that our Wal-Mart is also national news?
Critics have questioned how Wal-Mart treats its employees in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions. But rising unemployment and the need to generate revenue through sales taxes softened opposition among aldermen.

Wal-Mart and other large retailers have been looking for ways to expand their operations into large urban areas like Chicago and New York as sales at their existing stores have stagnated.

Shares of Wal-Mart were up 0.7 percent at $51.30 in afternoon trading.
Via Wal-Mart Can on Twitter!

No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!