Chicago enacts living-wage ordinance

posted by Adam (Southern California) on July 26th, 2006

Here’s the article.

It only applies to employers with over $1 billion in annual sales and stores of 90,000 square feet or more. It’s aimed at Wal-Mart, but I’m not sure who else would fall into that category; the article doesn’t say if it actually applies to any existing businesses in the city.

The wage under this ordinance is $10.00, plus $3.00 in fringe benefits. Much better than minimum wage, but still under the $15.00 (under the table, presumably) that day-laborers in Agoura Hills, California are getting.

Also, of course, it only applies within the city limits; the article notes that Wal-Mart recently opened a store just outside the boundary of the city.

Incidentally, I had no idea Chicago had 50 people on its City Council. Wow!

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4 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On August 1, 2006 at 16:29 Someone in USA said:

    According to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, 42 Chicago retailers would be affected. They will likely challenge the ordinance in court. Let us all hope, for the sake of Chicago’s poor families, that this law is defeated one way or another. Or else, they can kiss a lot of potential jobs goodbye.

  2. On August 2, 2006 at 08:54 Dr Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    Xinhua, 2006-07-29: Wal-Mart establishes 1st trade union in China.

  3. On August 2, 2006 at 12:29 Adam (Southern California) said:

    I remember the restaurants were staunchly opposed to the anti-smoking laws here in California, predicting many lost jobs, but that failed to happen. I would like to see research showing an empirical relationship between higher minimum wages and unemployment rather than a mere theoretical one; my suspicion is that when forced by law to pay higher wages, employers are more flexible with the amount of money they have to spend on wages than they are willing to admit.

  4. On August 2, 2006 at 13:44 Someone in USA said:


    I’m sure that in retail it is difficult to cut your staff down too much. They may experiment with technology like self-checkouts that can replace workers, but I know from experience that doesn’t help much. Certainly they will look for ways to boost cost efficiency and cut unnecessary positions (Wal-Mart has already done a lot of this company wide.). In this case, however, I suspect that they will do precisely what they said they would do – build just outside the city limits. Wal-Mart had plans for 20 stores in the city; if they don’t build them, that’s 8,000 jobs lost to those who need them most.

    What is the point of this law? If the aldermen were really concerned about the city’s poor, why didn’t they raise the minimum wage, or at least expand this to smaller stores? Don’t you find it odd that McDonald’s isn’t covered? They usually pay significantly less than Wal-Mart and Target. I understand they want to protect small businesses from the excessive labor cost, but what about their employees? Don’t they deserve a living wage? When you think about it, this law seems to have little to do with helping the poor.

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