Chicago, the city that works - sometimes, and in spite of itself. Peter Bella writes about the ongoing nonsense and power plays regarding a proposed Wal-Mart store in Chicago's historic Pullman neighborhood on the south side.
Mayor Richard Daley, to his credit, would like to see Wal-Mart (or any big retailer) build in that impoverished neighborhood. It's what some call a "food desert," with few good places to buy food or, for that matter, much else. That goes hand in hand with a lack of places at which to work. Some Chicago alderman and the unions that pull their strings would happily allow people to continue to struggle with no jobs or adequate shopping opportunities rather than allow a Wal-Mart into the hood. They demand, as Bella notes, a "living wage" of $11.03 per hour. (Has anybody ever offered a reasonable definition of "living wage?") Even minimum wage is better than no wage at all, but the union bosses and corruptocrats in City Hall would apparently prefer no wages for people in Pullman.
"Earleir this week," writes Bella in his column at Chicago Now, "Alderman Solis, the Zoning Committee Chairman demanded Wal-Mart negotiate with SEIU and other unions over wages and benefits. Solis does not know how things work. How can unions negotiate when there are no employees they represent?"
The answer is actually simple. The union bosses don't give a damn about the employees they claim to represent. If they did, they'd push in favor of Wal-Mart, let some unemployed people start earning something, and then - later - negotiate upwards on their behalf. The bosses, however, live pretty high on the union dues that are ripped out of every member's paycheck. The lower the wage, the lower the dues. Even a union boss understands the law of diminished returns.
John Ruberry at Marathon Pundit notes that "Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) has been trying to bring the retail giant--as well as hundreds of jobs--to the historic Pullman neighborhood. Daley wants an up-and-down vote on proposed South Side store" and that currently the unemployment rate in the Chicago metropolitan area is 11.3 percent.
Six years ago, the Chicago City Council actually did approve a Wal-Mart for Chicago's 37th Ward on the city's west side. Alderman Emma Mitts fought hard to get that store for her constituents (it opened in July, 2006).
Of that 2004 vote, Alderman Helen Shiller (46th Ward) said after that "We are dealing with a huge company with a long history of predatory practices," and said that Wal-Mart does not provide its employees with adequate health care. "They count on the city to provide assistance to their workers," she said. "We are creating more loss than gains." (MSNBC...) Shiller doesn't seem to understand that (a) the city itself has a long history of predatory taxation practices or that (b) many unemployed people are already count on the city for assistance. A pawn of SEIU herself, Shiller either cannot grasp or will not admit that at least some of those who would be employed by Wal-Mart could depend less on the city for assistance if they had an income, however meager. The real predators are the union bosses and the aldermen they support with campaign contributions and political workers.
Wal-Mart contributes to politicians, too, but they need to counter the opposition. Anti-Wal-Mart spinning by its opponents in public office and in the media is often reaches the deep into the depths of idiocy.
An absurd example of this comes from the University of Illinois at Chicago in a January 8, 2010 news release. The headline of the release boggles the mind: "Study: Chicago Walmart Does Not Boost Employment or Retail Sales." This flies in the face of reality. It smacks of the Big Lie so favored by Joseph Goebbels, who said that "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." What thinking person, however, can actually believe that new retailer with a store over 100,000 square feet and needing many new employees to staff it would not boost employment opportunities?
Yet UIC would have you believe that big lie. That January, 2010 news release claimed that "The opening of a Walmart store in Chicago's Austin neighborhood in 2006 has not increased retail activity or employment opportunities, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University Chicago."
Really? It hasn't increased employment opportunities? For anybody? Has that Wal-Mart remained unstaffed with no employees in the several years it has been open? How has the store functioned without employees? Half an ounce of critical thinking shows the absurdity of the UIC "study." 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts disagreed with the UIC study, noted Chicagoist, "saying on WTTW's Chicago Tonight that 'people see what they want to see,' and that she hadn't heard anyone in her community complaining."
The actions and words of the SEIU and their puppets on the City Council indicate that they really don't give a damn about the people they "represent." The propanda work on their behalf, by many in the media, is shameless. The losers who buy into the Wal-Mart hatred are simply pitiful.
Daley wants up-or-down vote on new Wal-Mart Clout Street/Chicago Tribune
Wal-Mart Hate and Deaf Aldermen Chicago News Bench
Video: Ministers rally around Wal-Mart Marathon Pundit
Pastors add pressure for more Walmart stores Chicago Defender
Wal-Mart gets 25,000 applications for Evergreen Park store Chicago Business
Penn and Teller on Wal-Mart Hatred (Video; Language Advisory) YouTube
Wal-Marts in Chicago (Google map a/o April 25, 2010)
Labor Unions: Employment at Wal-Mart Like Slavery BigGovernment.com
Wal-Mart Employment Opportunities HourlyCareers.com
Defeat of Chicago's big-box "living wage" ordinance means more jobs Marathon Pundit
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