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Question of the day

Thursday, Jul 30, 2009

* That image at the right represents just some of the grocery stores near the proposed Wal-Mart at 83rd and Stewart in Chicago. The rest are here.

I’m not sure you can call that area a “food desert,” even though it’s been referred to as such time and time again.

Still, as one commenter noted here yesterday…

If the Food4Less & jewel were getting the job done, then why did walmart sell 4 days worth of produce from a typical supercenter in 3 hours?

Ald. Burke makes this point…

“They can build 14 stores here. All they have to do is make a commitment to the rights of working men and women in Chicago to organize,” Burke said.


Chatham area residents deserve the jobs and fresh food the store would bring.

* The Question: Do you think Wal-Mart should be allowed to open more stores in Chicago? Explain fully, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Greg - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    Yes, because I don’t think a city should need to “allow” any given brand of store. If consumers want to pay more and shop at pro-union shops, that’s their right; the city shouldn’t force that economic sacrifice upon its residents.

  2. - Anon A. Muss - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:03 pm:

    Yes. They are an employer and every business should be given the same opportunities free from political considerations. Chicago pols take money from the unions so they oppose the deal. The political considerations are the only reason they oppose Wal-Mart. Were it any other employer, they’d be doing cartwheels and thumping their chests to take credit.

  3. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:03 pm:

    As long as the playing field is level…if they feel Chicago is such a great market, they should be willing to play by the same rules as their competition. Any job is better than no job will just start a race to the bottom.

  4. - Downstater - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    Wal_mart should be required to provide free health care, day care, pension plan, legal plan, paid leave for family time off, 4 weeks vacation, 13 personal days, and minimum wage of $15/hour.
    Opps! That is the plan government workets get!

  5. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    I know capitalism is on its way out, but I say let the market decide. If Wal-Mart follows all laws with respect to wage & hour and INS (which it has not always done) and that is not good enough because of the low wages, limited benefits, non-union, etc, but consumers still support them,It is not Government’s place to step in the way.

  6. - Downstate weed chewing hick - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:05 pm:

    Well said, Downstater.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===I know capitalism is on its way out===

    Where do you live? Venezuela? lol

    C’mon. Try to avoid goofy phrases like that here.

  8. - Pelon - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:10 pm:

    Absolutely. It is reasonable for the government to establish laws to protect its citizens, but establishing laws with the intent of blocking specific companies is going far beyond that.

  9. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    I’m usually the first to bash Ald. Burke, but he nailed it.

    If Walmart wants to pay wages that will not serve to depress wages in the entire area, then they should be welcomed. But if bringing in a new employer that will set a low wage standard that others are sure to copy is the plan, then we are better off without them.

  10. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:18 pm:

    “the city shouldn’t force that economic sacrifice upon its residents.”

    But that actually would be the impact of buidling a WalMart as opposed to a Dominicks or a Jewel.

    Unless the union contract has changed, Dominicks and Jewel both provided health insurance to most of their employees. Walmart does not.

    If you bring in Walmart, you are likely going to continue to pay the health care costs of those Walmart employees.

  11. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:21 pm:

    83rd and Stewart is a mostly abandoned Industrial area, so is the area south and east of there (old steel mills area, USS, Republic, etc)
    go a little South, say 87th street and there is a lot of shopping, Jewel etc.

    Of the 150 new stores Walmart plans to open this year in this country, it will also provide a lot of full time logistics positions in India. Most of the new jobs at the Walmarts (in this country) will be part time, no benefit positions.

    Walmart does not advertise made in USA anymore, as most of it’s merchandise is now imported (at least more than 50%)

  12. - Reality is - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:22 pm:

    If the Chicago is going to require certain levels of benefits then it should make that a law. If not, then let the store open.

  13. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    Mayor Daley asked the question on camera and asked why it’s ok to build Wal Marts in the suburbs, but not the city…aren’t there pro union Dems in the suburbs?

    Sadly, someone will lose whether or not Wal Mart opens or not…if it does, smaller/existing retailers will suffer, if it doesn’t,retail jobs will go elsewhere…tough call…

  14. - Food Desert - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:25 pm:

    Have any of you actually been to the Chatham neighborhood & stopped by to get your groceries at the local Jewel? Do you buy your hamburger meat and chicken at Aldis? Didn’t think so.

    The food desert argument has more to do with the over 600,000 people that are reported to live in food deserts on the south side of Chicago who would undoubtedly travel less time and distance and have better access to healthy food if a Supercenter with a huge selection of produce came into their neck of the woods.

  15. - bored now - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:26 pm:

    sure, as long as they conform to community values. it’s not that difficult — and see how far wal-mart has changed on health care. three years ago, they were fighting health care with their every breathe, now they not only provide it but want to see health care reform passed.

    if wal-mart wants to expand into chicago, all they have to do is accept chicago’s values. pretty simple…

  16. - L.S. - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:28 pm:

    They have a right to open. But unions and other groups that represent working people have a right to hold their feet to the fire on wages and health care. Walmart have not been very good corporate citizens in the past, they need to do better.

  17. - Greg - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    A couple points:

    1. If healthcare is a Chicago value, then why not force that upon all employers, instead of only employers who happen to look exactly like Walmart?

    2. The opportunity cost of a Walmart job is probably extremely low. At the absolute worst, govt aid to new Walmart workers would be unchanged versus their previous situation.

    3. Eveyone’s ignoring the utility brought by lower prices. More competition–which brings prices closer to their costs–increases consumer utility. The effect on Walmart shoppers (and shoppers of Walmart competitors) will be positive.

  18. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    Yes, as long as they pay their taxes and get appropriate licenses, etc. I bet they won’t even sell guns. This is a silly question.

  19. - Gregor - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:41 pm:

    I’ve seen how Walmart plays, and they play dirty. In smaller downstate areas, where the citizens made plain their opposition, Walmart simply bribed the local governments by donating to their campaigns. The local hacks took the money and ran, leaving the voters holding the bag on all the infrastructure costs for supporting the Walmart and the ecological costs of their building in a flood plain. In Hawaii, Walmart insisted on building over ancestral native burial grounds. Their record is long and bad regarding their adherance to rules and regs. And they are union busters, no question. When the meat department at a Canadian Walmart voted to organize, Walmart closed the store. It is scorched-earth capitalism they play.

    Walmart does not want to come feed those people, but to feed OFF of them.

    And Bill Brady should be ashamed to be their shill.

  20. - Master Plan - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:45 pm:

    Government run auto indusrey, banks, and now wal-mart. Capitalisam is under fire, the top 1 % earners now pay more taxes than 95% of the people, and they are under attack to pay more. Where and when does it end.

  21. - Reality Check - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    Local communities should be free to regulate business in ways that conform to the values of the residents of that community.

    Some communities do not allow strip clubs, massage parlors, OTBs or gun shops. Some communities don’t allow gambling. Some restrict or even ban alcohol sales. (And as we see, some only issue tickets for pot arrests.)

    If Chicago residents wish to bar or restrict a business that won’t conform to community standards about treating workers fairly, paying decent wages, or providing basic health care benefits, the city council should be free to take actions that reflect the will of city residents.

  22. - Niles Township - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:00 pm:

    Yes. City permits should not be contingent on allowing union organizing. I wonder if a permit is denied and Walmart sued, I am fairly confident a court would find no reasonable, neutral basis to deny the permit.

  23. - OldSmokey2 - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:05 pm:

    It seems unfair to Walmart for Chicago to block them while allowing one of their biggest competitors, Target, which pays similar wages and uses lots of part-time workers, to build stores all over Chicago.
    I’m not a big fan of Walmart and I think unions are generally good for workers. But I wonder where things would be if the unions put as much effort into actually organizing workers as they expend on political battles like this. It’s hard to believe, with Walmarts in all kinds of places around the country and the world, that at least one union can’t find a way to organize workers at a Walmart (or a Target or Whole Foods, for that matter) somewhere.
    But denying this Walmart in Chatham, where people appear to overwhelmingly support building it and want the jobs, at the same time that Target is building a huge new store on the North Side, in Uptown, just doesn’t seem right.

  24. - fed up - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    I wonder if Wal mart pays as much as JJ Fish, Mcdonalds, or the corner liquor store or the currency exchange, thats really all thats in some areas on the south side. This area does have a good mix of stores so keeping wal mart out when home depot, lowes and dozens of fast food joints are there is silly. Wal Mart jobs are entry level and provide a start just like mcdoalds. The unions destroyed detroit why let them continue to ruin Chicago. The union pressure has forced wal mart to improve its pay and benifiets which is a good thing but to keep bashing this company is getting old. Its not like Nordstrom and Macys are fighting for this spot the community wants the wal mart.

  25. - Sewanee - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    ==Some communities do not allow strip clubs, massage parlors, OTBs or gun shops. Some communities don’t allow gambling. Some restrict or even ban alcohol sales. (And as we see, some only issue tickets for pot arrests.)==

    Chicago isn’t outlawing all grocery/home item sales, they’re cutting Wal-Mart like businesses out of that sector.

    Would a city allow one brand of strip club but not another? (Ok, strip clubs aren’t exactly franchised like Starbucks, but you get my drift)

  26. - George - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:14 pm:


    Just want to walk you back a little.

    Who has said that Chatham is a food desert? I just want to protect against straw men here.

    What I have seen is that those who look at the issues of “food deserts” actually classify that area of Chatham as the Chatham “food oasis”, because it has food options while surrounded by desert. See this report for example from one person who looks at this issue.

    Now, if Walmart were to open in Englewood, that would be a truer “food desert.” And we can have a similar conversation. But I would argue there are more areas of the city that should be looked at first for grocery store investment than that particular location.

  27. - Sewanee - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    Haha, just looked closer at the graphic. Food4Less apparently employs more women than one patron would care to see. Think Wal-Mart should be regulated for male-to-female ratio?

    Reminds you that online reviews are pretty weak…

  28. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    ===Who has said that Chatham is a food desert? ===

    I believe a certain Sun=Times columnist was the most prominent.

  29. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:18 pm:

    I think is is disingenuous for the pols to stand in the way of a business making an investment in the community. I thought what this economy needs is jobs, jobs, jobs.

    There are insufficient jobs in that community, Does not make a difference if Jewel or Dominicks pays better - They are not interested in coming in.

    The people will be served and if everyone is made to play by the rules the Walmart can be an anchor to a development. Waukegan has a new Walmart and there is a seemingly thriving cluster of other stores and restaurants providing services and taxes to that community.

    As far as I am concerned it is only the elitists who are well off themselves who stand in the way of entry level jobs being created in a poor community.

    I bet the residents would prefer a Walmart to a vacant lot that needs environmental remediation.

  30. - George - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

    I guess I should read the above.

    I think, Rich, that you can properly contend that you are right - there are fresh food/grocery options in Chatham.

    It is classified as a “food oasis,” so those saying it is a food desert are being disingenuous.

    Why put another grocery store down the street from the Jewel and Food 4 Less when you have connected square miles of city neighborhoods with 0 fresh food/grocery options.

  31. - fed up - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

    Chicago isn’t outlawing all grocery/home item sales, they’re cutting Wal-Mart like businesses out of that sector.

    Target just opened a store on 119th and marshfield in Chicago it sells grocerys and home products, the target on Roosevelt and Canal has groceries. The jobs Wal Mart will provide are better than the jobs provided by Burger King Wendys, KFC, Harolds, or the local cell phone store but the city lets those open on every corner.

  32. - Amuzing Myself - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:26 pm:

    A private company should be allowed to decide how it’s workforce works, whether it’s union or non-union, and it’s up to the consumers to decide if they care one way or the other by where they decide to spend their money.

    I think it’s pretty amazing to see these unions using their muscle to stand in the way of jobs for the people that live in these areas. Will jobs be lost by smaller stores closing? Maybe, but not likely as many as will be created by the new employers.

    In spite of the likely use of union workers to build the stores themselves, they would rather keep hundreds of good-paying jobs out of communities that desperately need them just because they can’t “own” that particular workforce. Any politician that side with the unions over people that need jobs - union or not - should be run out of office by their local constituents the first chance they get.

  33. - Wayne W. - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    Its easy to say Walmart shouldn’t be there, for varius reasons. I lived in that area about a mile east of the site for the about 10 years, and I understand the area needs jobs. I don’t buy however walmart brings jobs where ever it goes, I believe the amount of jobs walmart brings in will be less than the number of jobs lost from other areas mom and pop stores in the area that end up closing becauase they can’t compete with walmart. I also don’t buy they bring in tax revenue for the city. Yes walmart will generate a lot of sales tax, and even property tax for the city and state, but the tax revenue is just being shifted to walmart form other area stores. I believe building a walmart while a short term increase in jobs, will be a net negative for the community in the long run.

  34. - Lakefront Liberal - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:40 pm:

    Yes - IF they are willing to pay a living wage including benefits AND actually pay for the costs associated with putting in their new store AND if they stop their practice of driving manufacturers out of business if they themselves don’t pay sweatshop-wages.

    Lakhoff articulates one of the core progressive values as using the common wealth (our taxes, for example) for the common good, not to enrich the well-connected few. Wal-Mart is a hugely profitable business in part because they get government to pay for part of their business costs — i.e. supplementing their workers with food stamps and health care, building infrastructure for them, giving them tax breaks and zoning breaks — and because they can use their huge market share to get rid of competition and exploit their suppliers. Their business model is great at enriching the Walton family but has an extremely negative effect on the quality of life and long-term economic health of the rest of us.

    Ideally we WOULD be applying these rules to all businesses, by, for example, raising the minimum wage to a living wage and having universal, single-payer health care. If we had those two things, along with fair trade agreements, many of the Wal-Mart issues would dissappear. Trying to get Walmart (and other big-box stores) to do these things by restricting their locations is a work-around at best, but it is all we have at the moment.

  35. - Steve - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:43 pm:

    Alderman Burke’s comment is pretty funny. His law firm isn’t unionized. What about his law clients who get their property taxes appealed by him? I guarantee you, they aren’t all unionized firms.

  36. - just sayin - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:48 pm:

    Of course they should. What is this Russia? Oh that’s right, they are free market now too.

    Zoning would be the only reasonable reason to deny a new store like this, and that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    Who do these Aldermen think they are trying to micromanage the job market and consumer choice?

    If Wal-Mart’s pay isn’t competitive then they won’t get workers. But it sounds like job applicants are beating the door down.

    Did anyone in Illinois politics ever take an Econ 101 course?

  37. - Velma D. - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:56 pm:

    I don’t think this is really about food deserts, bringing in jobs, or supporting health care for workers. It’s about how much the unions pay - and have historically paid - to the campaigns of Chicago politicians. It’s payback for the years of support. If WalMart offered more money over a similar period of time there would be WalMarts all over Chicago.

  38. - moron - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:58 pm:

    The whole “food desert” (or as Todd Stroger calls them “food desserts”) issue is a crock. The most frequently cited reference for Chicago’s “food desert” problem are two un-refereed reports with unspecified funding from an independent consultant, Mari Gallagher Research and Consulting Group, using a copyright, proprietary methodology. It defines “mainstream grocery stores” as offering fresh foods and “fringe groceries stores” as not and defines “food imbalance” as having a “fringe store” closer that a “mainstream store.” It does not explicitly define “food desert” but seems to imply that areas where junk food is closer than fresh are “food deserts.” So you could have beau coup major chain grocery stores but if you generously sprinkle gas stations and convenience stores in between you are “out of food balance.” This methodology ignores the fact that no one is forced to survive on bags of cheetos.

  39. - Velma D. - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:59 pm:

    To answer the question, yes they should be allowed to open a business just like any other department store or grocery store. I don’t like WalMart, and generally don’t shop there, but I don’t see why it’s OK to have Walmarts all over the suburbs and not in Chicago. (and it just KILLS me that the Mayor has made a similar argument, but I gotta agree).

  40. - Food Desert - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:00 pm:

    RE: Bored Now “if wal-mart wants to expand into chicago, all they have to do is accept chicago’s values. pretty simple…”

    So does that mean Target, the big box retailer that is littered throughout the city and is not unionized, qualifies as ‘accepting Chicago’s values’..?

    didn’t think so.

  41. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:02 pm:

    Yes. Burke is quoted again in the next paragraph:

    “If Walmart can come into Chicago and operate on a non-union basis, then how can Jewel and Dominicks and the other food chains continue to have union men and women?”

    He’s got a good point – because running a union shop is, generally speaking, less profitable than running a non-union one. What he doesn’t say is the obvious result of that: costumers pay more to make up the margin. And customers typically outnumber the employees by an exponential margin.

    So, thanks to Alderman Burke, lots of people have to pay more for the same goods in order to fund the slightly higher salaries – and, perhaps more importantly to him, the union dues – of the (relatively) few lucky enough to get a job at the union shop.

  42. - moron - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:04 pm:

    Gallager does list Walmart as a client of other studies on her webiste, but she does not disclose the funder of her most frequently cited work, on “food deserts.”

    At any given point in most American cities, a bag of flaming hot cheetos is available closer than a banana. Not exactly profound.

  43. - ap - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:08 pm:

    no. if wal-mart’s self-reported avg wage of $12/hr was real, why fight a living wage ordinance? oh yeah, because its NOT real.
    the site is not a food desert. but the south side definitely is a wage desert. and transforming job quality is absolutely what must be done if we are to work to end poverty in urban america. wal-mart certainly won’t be doing this on their own. so props to community groups and labor for demanding that the world’s richest company not get rich off the backs of their poverty-wage workers.

  44. - Levi voted for Judy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:10 pm:

    When did every job have to be able to sustain a family of four? I don’t think it is reasonable to expect someone who removes carts from the parking lot to make above minimum wage. In addition, if it is true that it is hard in those areas to get fresh produce and Walmart can provide that, isn’t that a good thing?

    Hopefully, the voices of the people who actually live in those communities will prevail and let the people who are protesting, protest if Walmart wants to move in where they live.

  45. - South Side Mike - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:12 pm:

    Anyone who says no to Walmart needs to explain fully one difference between their pay/benefits and Target’s. There is NONE. Zero. Zilch. Nada. As a previous poster pointed out, Target is also non-union, part-time employee based. Their health insurance is based on hours worked, and lots of part-timers means lots of crappy part-time insurance options that cost a lot of money. As far as products, anyone check out the manufacturing labels for all of their home furnishings, small appliances, etc? It isn’t the USA. (Anyone see a difference in the two companies, yet?)

    There are two differences in the companies: 1) Walmart kicked Target’s tail in the head to head discounter competition, and Target successfully rebranded itself as upscale “Tar-jay”; 2) Target is “progressive” and donates to Democrats, unlike that embarrassingly hick Walmart that’s located in Arkansas, of all places.

    Let’s face it, #2 is the real incentive for opposing Walmart. But if you oppose Walmart for any of the silly reasons commenters listed above, you also should boycott Target.

    So my answer to Rich’s question is, “Heck yes, let Walmart open.” It’s ridiculous that they’ve been made to jump through so many hoops already.

  46. - Yes - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    Last I checked it is a free country. People just want to bash Wal-Mart because they’re on top of the world when it comes to sales. Kinda like people like to bash sports teams or players who win all the time. That’s the best analogy I can give. The place sells stuff for cheap - I shop there quite frequntly despite the fact that I don’t fit the stereotypical Wal-Mart shopper. If they meet all the legal requirements, let them open a store.

  47. - UIS Student - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:16 pm:

    I am a student at UIS and have worked for Best Buy, Circuit City, and now for Wal-Mart. I am part time working around 20 hours a week. I make more at Walmart (by almost $2.00 more) than I did at either of the other two retail stores I worked at (for doing relativly the same job), I get a higher wage on sunday and holidays (something I never got with the other two)plus I get health insurance that isnt all that bad. So I say if Walmart wants to open a chicago store let them. I dont hear unions complainign about Best Buy, K-Mart, Target, or orther retail stores when they open so why should Wal-Mart be any different. I wish some of the critics who say walmart offers low wages and no benefits would actually look into what company offers.

  48. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:24 pm:

    Did anyone in Illinois politics ever take an Econ 101 course?

    Maybe at a Big Ten school like Penza State ?

    Seriously, I would accept the argument that W-M should accept the mores and customs of the community if they were uniformly enforced across the industry within city limits. When specific companies are targeted, I smell a rat. I also acknowledge the argument that W-M gets a lot of infrastructure benefits from TIF districts and enterprise zones, but so could any other similar company with a similar development in such a zone.
    People can always vote with their feet. If a business does not cater to the needs of a community, people can and will shop and be employed elsewhere. I guess that’s why the W-M in Evergreen Park got 25,000 job applicants (mostly from within Chicago city limits) and is one of the area’s top generating stores.

  49. - Dudeman - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:25 pm:

    No! I think we should have government run supermarkets! Walmart is bad. The state would make a level playing field for the average citizen to get thier groceries the way they want them. (Note Heavy Sarcasm)

  50. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:29 pm:

    Wal-Mart is successful because a lot of people shop there. The Democratic Party in Illinois is successful because a lot of people vote for its candidates. You (and I) may not like the power and influence that either wields, or some of the policies that either carries out, but neither would have those if so many people did not give it to them.

  51. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:38 pm:

    The answer is Yes.

    People keep saying that the company should have to conform to the community’s values. If the community values are opposed to Wal-Mart, then the retail giant won’t last long in that community. Folks will spend their money at stores that promote their values, and that particular Wal-Mart will become a money pit.

    Regardless of what anyone thinks of capitalism, if everyone is playing under the same rules, capitalism provides a very accurate measure of what people value.

  52. - Belle - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:02 pm:

    Yes of course they should be free to open as many stores in Chicago as they want. The unions and government should not be allowed to require private, non-unionized businesses, to do anything.

  53. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:30 pm:

    whats is fascinating is that wal-mart got its start by building stores where other companies thought the market was too small to justify putting in a business. Turns out the wal-mart strategy worked.

    A department store or grocery store should be able to expand where they wish fincanally. let the consumer vote for where they want to shop, not the government or the variouse people who never spoke up once about yet another starbucks being constructed….

  54. - MrJM - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:59 pm:

    Q: “If the Food4Less & jewel were getting the job done, then why did walmart sell 4 days worth of produce from a typical supercenter in 3 hours?”

    A: Predatory pricing — the practice of selling a product or service at a very low price, intending to drive competitors out of the market. If competitors cannot sustain equal or lower prices without losing money, they go out of business or choose not to enter the business. The predatory merchant then has fewer competitors or is even a de facto monopoly, and can then raise prices above what the market would otherwise bear.

    – MrJM

  55. - Quinn T. Sential - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:20 pm:

    What about a commitment to the rights of working men and women in Chicago to organize; as customers, rather than employees?

    What if the greater number of citizens that are not represented by organized labor, could care less about those that want to be, and would simply rather buy better more affordable products from someone willing to stock them and sell them to them?

    What laws have been initiated or passed to protect their rights not to have to overpay for goods that are otherwise conveniently available elsewhere, just because the regulators want the lady working the cash register to make $15 per hour?

    Who represents the people that have to overpay for goods or be inconveniencesd by traveling over the city border to get them, and taking their sales tax dollars to the suburbs instead?

  56. - Labor diva - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:52 pm:

    Q: “If the Food4Less & jewel were getting the job done, then why did walmart sell 4 days worth of produce from a typical supercenter in 3 hours?”

    I will give you another answer…

    A: Walmart Farmers Market last saturday: $1/tomatoes, 50 cent oranges and free watermelons on your way to check out along with you free walmart recyclable bag and free entertainment by Cliff on WVON… that’s the way Walmart does business. A whole lotta hoopla but nothing to show for it. Try again fellas!

  57. - What the Heck - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:53 pm:

    the real question here is why are unions who refuse to hire minorities standing in the way of people in an area that needs jobs for youth and young adults. Tell you what if the unions will hire 400-500 young adults/youth then they can talk but until they make a commitment to this community they should not stand in the way of jobs!

  58. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:54 pm:

    Unions refuse to hire minorities?

  59. - i'm4jobs - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 5:33 pm:

    There are lots of good reasons why Wal-Mart should be allowed to build in the City and lots of excuses about why they should not. Chairman Burke cut to the chase by proclaiming that Chicago is a union town, and the City Council is afraid to cross them. Public opinion about Wal-Mart has turned and Brookins’ ordinance will pass when put to a vote. But Burke, Mell, et al will stall it as long a possible to appease their labor friends.

  60. - Coach - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 6:20 pm:


    It’s been awhile since this issue has surfaced publicly in a big way, but historically there has been much discussion about the limited representation - or no representation - of blacks among certain trade unions.

    A few years ago at the Capitol, there was quite the dust up when Emil decided that he was going to try and use some legislation to force the trade unions to step up minority participation in apprenticeship programs.

    If memory serves me, I think his push to mandate better minority participation was unsuccessful. I think you may have written a column or two about that whole ordeal.

  61. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 6:26 pm:

    Yes. That’s true. But the comment was about union hiring.

  62. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 6:31 pm:

    Yes. Let the public vote with the job applications and their wallets as to whether they want Wal-Mart in Chicago. The unions are free to try to organize the workers all they want, but they should fight their own battles instead of having beholden politicians doing their bidding. The free market and the rights of workers to choose to organize, or not, on their own works elsewhere, why not in Chicago?

    Full disclosure — years ago over summers in college I worked for Sam’s (owned by Wal-Mart). Compared to other jobs available for summer employment for college students, I was paid well and treated well, even without a union.

  63. - profiles in courage - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 6:46 pm:

    Absolutely. The City Council is the group that is playing politics - not WalMart. City codes allowing for businesses should be applied evenly.

    How would they feel about a ban on companies owned by homosexuals or a ban on Republican-owned stores? This is a case of economic discrimination which is sad because the jobs pay an average of $12 per hour with some benefits.

    1 in 10 Illinoisans is out of a job. I am sure the would love the opportunity to work.

  64. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 8:03 pm:

    I don’t have a dog in the fight

  65. - Bobs yer - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 8:30 pm:

    No offense, I just find the question itself incredibly funny. “Approve”? Eddie Burke, son of Eddie Burke, approve?

    Chicago really is a little 3d world country. Throw Burke some $$, and he’ll approve. Some extra for his wife’s next campaign, he’ll really approve.

    won’t get caught, don’t worry. This town ain’t ready for reform. State neither. (Approve? funny.)

  66. - Ramsin - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:05 pm:

    My head is going to explode. It’s not just the jobs. Wal-Mart is bad development, they are bad for consumers and producers, they leech off of taxpayers, and they thrive, literally off of bad economic conditions.

    Their prices aren’t even considerably cheaper on average. They build giant hulks they then abandon. They make it impossible for independent business to survive or begin. And they use their clout to fight things like FDA regulations that keep people safe. It’s a bad company that harms markets it moves into.

    The idea that people need to accept it because of some free market property rights argument is ridiculous. If you believe in zoning laws, you accept the fact that the state has the right to legislate who can move where. Read your local zoning ordinance some time, and see how often the phrase “health, safety, and general welfare” pops along with “injurious to use and enjoyment.”

  67. - ok Ramsin - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:03 pm:

    Clearly Ramsin has been studying the documentary “High Cost o Low Prices.” News flash– that was filmed years ago and fact is Walmart has proved itself as a good corporate citizen with its store on the west side.

    “Bad company that harms markets it moves into?” Tell that to Alderman Emma Mitts, whose ward has thrived with new businesses since it opened a Walmart in 2006. 400+ permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs. And access to fresh food & Produce.

  68. - state employee - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:37 pm:

    Anti-union, anti-environmental company has no place in Chicago.

  69. - espoir, chicago, IL - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 8:03 am:

    Walmart is bad for the economy. It is a proven fact that they drive out small businesses. Small businesses are the heart of our economy and are the country’s largest employer. If we want to help rebuild our communities, we need more small businesses. Look at all of the empty storefronts already. That will only get worse if Walmart comes to town.

  70. - VanillaMan - Sunday, Aug 2, 09 @ 10:13 pm:

    If you believe in freedom and choice, then you should support market competition to keep your prices low. If you believe that you are somehow smarter than your neighbors and believe you should be empowered to prevent others from having freedoms and choices, then you would be opposed to Wal-Mart.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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