Chicago Mayor Richard Daley asked aldermen on Thursday to support a third Walmart store in Chicago, part of Wal-Mart Stores’ much-publicized plan to open stores across the city and further penetrate urban markets.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Daley said a third store located on the city's South Side would bring much-needed jobs and stimulate the economy. Daley downplayed discussions about years of controversy over fair wage issues and competition with small businesses involving the current Walmart store on the West Side and one slated to open in 2012 on the South Side.
"You have to be bringing jobs," he said at Thursday’s news conference. "It has a positive rippling effect on the community. There is nothing wrong with this."
Daley doesn't need City Council approval for the third store, but he said he wanted the support of city leaders. The matter is due before a committee on Friday.
The first store, which opened in 2006, was fought by labor unions and small-business owners who claimed unfair wages and long-term adverse effects, such as running local stores out of business. And in June, the City Council approved a second store to open in 2012 on the city's South Side. Labor leaders dropped their opposition when Wal-Mart Stores agreed to pay starting wages at $8.75 an hour, along with raises of 40 cents to 60 cents an hour after the first year. Illinois' minimum wage is $8.25 an hour.
Daley said he did not have detailed information on the third store, including when it would open. But he said Wal-Mart would pay the higher-than-minimum wage rate.
The world's largest retailer has announced plans to open several dozen stores across the city in a five-year plan called "Chicago Community Investment Partnership." The goal is to create 12,000 jobs and generate $500 million in tax revenue.