Chicago vs. Wal-Mart: outcome still in doubt

A news story today from the Chicago Tribune detailing Wal-Mart’s latest offer to build a store in Chicago (it currently has 0 within city limits). Some of the players in the long saga:

1. Wal-Mart. Its latest offer is starting all workers at $8.75 an hour, $0.50 above current minimum wage standards in Chicago. Has been exploring several sites on the South Side for years.

2. Unions. Don’t want Wal-Mart as the company does not allow its workers to unionize. Worried about lower wages.

3. The City. Has primarily been against Wal-Mart because of the wage issue.

4. Those who want cheaper and/or accessible groceries. Several of the neighborhoods Wal-Mart has looked at might be considered “food deserts” (neighborhoods where relatively cheap, nutritious food is not available). Many other companies are not willing to move in while Wal-Mart has expressed interest.

There might be a path to resolution soon – several aldermen now seem willing to support the stories in their wards. This may be particularly timely as Wal-Mart says it would add 12,000 jobs to the city for the next five years if they could build where they want.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE 6/23/10 at 11:10 PM

From the Chicago Tribune: Mayor Daley of Chicago makes “an emotional pitch” for Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart releases a list of benefits for the community, and demonstrators who support Wal-Mart add the vuvuzela to their arsenal.

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