Keeping Wal-Marts Out Of The City

Organized labor is working to block the development of a Wal-Mart supercenter in Chicago.
August 11, 2003, 5am PDT | Connie Chung
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Some say that the resistance provided by organized labor has played a significant role in Wal-Mart's development strategies, "in which it appears to have avoided building large numbers of stores in places such as Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and New York." A recent example is in Chicago, where leaders from two major unions have announced that they will fight Wal-Mart's planning application, claiming that "it poses a major threat to jobs at unionized rivals." Organized labor have argued that "Wal-Mart's arrival would ultimately be bad for the city, citing union statistics estimating that for every Wal-Mart job provided, two union jobs would be lost." In defense, a Wal-Mart spokesman "described the chain's plans to build a store as a positive development that would provide 250 jobs, mostly permanent, and an estimated $600,000 in annual taxes." The site of the planned Wal-Mart is the Hermosa neighborhood, in the heart of one of the city's most depressed areas." The site is zoned primarily for light manufacturing. "In order to redevelop the 10.85-acre property...Wal-Mart wants city planners to change the zone to a general business district, which would allow for the new 142,000-square-foot supercenter and 610 parking spaces. Besides lobbying the local alderman, who has so far supported the redevelopment, union leaders said they plan to try and block the application by meeting with members of the city's powerful zoning committee."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Friday, August 8, 2003 in The Chicago Tribune
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