Big Box gets Big Win

Chicago alderman have passed the super controversial Big Box ordinance this afternoon.

Any bets on how quickly Wal-Mart stops construction on the west side?

16 Comments so far

  1. nikkos (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 4:56 pm

    “It requires them to pay at least $10 an hour in wages plus another $3 in fringe benefits by July 2010.”

  2. Lauren Liss (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

    Ya, I love that part. Chicago: all about the efficiency.

  3. tankboy (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

    Actually, construction on the West Side is almost complete. This won’t stop Wal-Mart from moving in…they’ll just squeeze their suplliers more so they can maintain their margin.

  4. nikkos (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 9:38 am

    This is HUGE news and it’s cool to see Chicago still at the forefront of the labor movement. Lauren, thanks for keeping your eye on this story!

  5. Dave! (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 10:11 am

    It won’t stop construction, or Wal-Mart from moving in, and Wal-Mart *always* squeezes their suppliers to maintain their margins.

    What will happen is that Wal-Mart (or Target or SomeOtherCompany) will challenge the law in court, and will probably win…

  6. Erik (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 11:58 am

    Wal-Mart was saying that they were looking into as many as 40 new stores in Chicago, but would pull the plug on them if this passed.

    If it weren’t for my Carolla and (semi-)steady job, I’d be pretty upset about this. But, since I have those thigns and thus don’t need a low-paying job or more access to cheap mass-market goods (I stocked up on white Ts, cheap polos, and unpopular computer games last week at the South loop Target), I guess I’m glad that the people who already had jobs at these places will get paid more.

  7. Erik (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 12:09 pm

    Dave: I heard they challenged a similar law somewhere else as being discriminatory and invalid under the equal protection clause. I thought that this might be better tried as a takings argument.

    You’re bigger on that law stuff than I; what say you?

  8. Erik (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

    @ Nikkos:
    Other blogs have noted that the labor movement in Chicago isn’t quite as pristine as some would like to believe (though Jimmy Hoffa-like leaders wearing white robes and halos would be a fun thing to see). I think the Sun-Times even mentioned that the alder-people who voted for this were basically forced into it by the threat of splitting the Democratic votes in their ward and running labor candidates against the Democratic incumbants.

    Then again, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool moderate.

  9. Shep (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

    Ignorance is bliss.

  10. jack (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

    I haven’t been to a walmart in 5-6 years and don’t have any plans to be going, but its nice to knwo that tax money will now have to be used to defend a law in a court case that the city is sure to lose. blatent discrimination can not be upheld by a court. If you want to raise the minimum wage, fine, but you have to make it a law that applies to everyone, not just walmart and target. I have no love for walmart, but it will be nice to watch them prove how foolish the alderman in this city are. if that doesn’t happen hopefully walmart will let the public know which stores would have been opened so they know how many jobs they are losing.

  11. nikkos (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

    Shep, that should be your new slogan. I suggest you print up some t-shirts. Your friends could wear an alternate design reading “I’m with blissful.”

  12. nikkos (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 1:41 pm


    No movement which utilizes politics as a medium is “pristine.” The rest of your point is a fancy way of saying that if the aldermen didn’t pass it their constituents would have voted them out of office, which is basically the essence of representational politics.

  13. erik (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 2:55 pm


    You’re right in that I was saying that aldermen would get voted out if they didn’t pass this, but I didn’t intend to say it in any “fancy” way. What concerns me is that the motivation for being voted out would have been only tangentially related to the actual vote, but instead a matter of the unions being richer and having more clout than the aldermen. Don’t get me wrong, I think that unions are a vital part of maintaining workers’ rights. What distresses me is that the unions have a very strong voice, while the unemployed don’t.

    I’ve heard a seperate argument in favor of this new law that says that Chicago doesn’t need big boxes and that they don’t fit. While I think this is very much true of neighborhoods like Wicker Park, I don’t think neighborhoods like Grand Crossing (Target at 85th and Stony Island) are in the same position.

  14. nikkos (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 4:34 pm


    I hear what you’re saying, and I didn’t mean ‘fancy’ in a pejorative way. What I meant is that- despite future legal complications, various unforseeable implications and the like- the way this news will play across the country is that the big box retailers were forced to make a concession to reality. As such, it is a big- and valuable- story.

  15. Erik (unregistered) on July 27th, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

    I agree that this is a big and impactful story. I’m just arguing, really, that there’s more cons here than some are admitting. Just opinion, I suppose in the end. That’s why I’m on the comments page of a blog, after all!

  16. EgoKitten (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 11:42 am

    This ordiance is not a win for the city or for all of those making minimum wage. New store will go up just outside the city limits, others will move there as soon as their lease is up. And their employees will earn less *and* have extra expenses for transportation.

    But of course, unions and aldermen always go for short-term gains … Upping the state’s minimum wage would have been the right thing to do, even when it much longer.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.