Wal-Mart Blows It Big Time In Chicago

New York Next? The Chicago city council will vote today to raise minimum wages for workers at big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart has ambitious expansion plans in Chicago, and they want to move into New York City). Current wages at Chicago stores such as Wal-Mart and Target start at about $7.25 an hour (source – Financial Times). The bill, expected to pass, would mandate $9.25 per hour in 2007, rising to $10 in 2010 for work in “big box” stores, and an additional $1.50 benefits supplement.

Wal-Mart is sparking legislation all over the nation that is doing more to raise workers benefits than any union campaign. By aggressively fighting local governments that want their constituents to have fair wages and benefits Wal-Mart sets itself up as the invading behemoth that is intent on subservience and fealty to the retail machine. Wal-Mart mistakenly believes that these skirmishes are merely “site fights.” There is a larger pattern here they need to recognize, because it permanently alters their operations and bottom line. Put the money they waste on “site fights” into education, job training, infrastructure improvement in the communities where they do business and site fight issues will fade away.  Mark Rose in New York

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