It's About Good Jobs

This past July history was made in Chicago when the living wage ordinance was passed in City Hall by a margin of 35-14 votes. All Logan Square aldermen voted in favor of the ordinance which would force big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target to pay living wages of $10 per hour plus $3 dollars for benefits like health care. A University of Illinois at Chicago study showed that the $3 per hour for benefits would save Chicago taxpayers over $40 million annually because big box employees would have less need for public aid.

LSNA played an important role in setting the stage for this momentous vote. During last March elections, a 35th Ward referendum asked voters if they supported the living wage ordinance. LSNA leaders went on a door knocking campaign which resulted in 84% of people voting in support of the ordinance. A few months later an independent poll reached similar results citywide.

Critics of the ordinance say that we will lose big box jobs. Wal-Mart says they are being unfairly targeted due to their own success. But that success has a price. Ken Snyder of the Grassroots Collaborative, a coalition group of key organizations and unions, points out that “studies, even ones funded by Wal-Mart show that these stores drive down wages for people, not just in the retail sector but in the whole service sector.” The UIC study also concluded that if the ordinance is signed into law, 10,000 people who currently work in big box stores in Chicago will be lifted out of poverty. “We also know that these companies, more than any other can pay a higher living wage, we know their business model can support it,” added Mr. Snyder. The time has come to make sure that America’s largest companies pay people enough to put food on their table and support their families, to pay people $10 an hour, plus $3 an hour for benefits. It’s about good jobs.


Big Box Press Conf 2

The fight is not over. Mayor Daley is considering using his veto power for the first time in his career if he gets two aldermen to change their position before the next council meeting on September 13th. Some Alderman have already said they are considering changing their vote. Our aldermen need to hear from us. Call your local aldermen to thank them for their historic vote on the living wage ordinance and to make sure their votes don’t change.

At a press conference September 12th, Alderman Joe Moore and Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn listened as Maynard, a leader in the fight to bring in Costco, spoke of the importance of the Big Box Ordinance.