Chicago a Step Closer to Wal-Mart Wage Hike

June 21, 2006

The Chicago City Council today moved forward with a proposal to require that big box retailers like Wal-Mart give workers $10 per hour plus benefits.

The ordinance will affect fewer workers than original proposals.

The revised ordinance was still being typed up as the city council's Finance Committee began its meeting.

Original proposals affected employees of stores 75-thousand square feet and up. This version only applies in stores larger than 90-thousand square feet, and delays health benefits for up to six months.

Even with the changes, opponents say this would scare away business to the suburbs.

Alderman Joe Moore disagrees.

"Paying people decent wages and benefits historically has shown to be good for our economy," Moore says. "Good for economic development. Good for job creation. I think this will result in the same result."

After a lively debate, the committee passed the proposal 15 to six.

A vote in the full council could come as early as next Wednesday.