WBEZ | Wages http://www.wbez.org/tags/wages Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 7-Eleven warns Chicago franchisee who criticized company http://www.wbez.org/news/7-eleven-warns-chicago-franchisee-who-criticized-company-110064 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Syed.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 263px; width: 300px;" title="Hashim Syed, owner of a 7-Eleven franchise on the city’s North Side, received a written warning from the Dallas-based company eight days after WBEZ aired his grievances. (WBEZ/Shannon Heffernan)" />7-Eleven Inc. is coming down on a Chicago franchisee who criticized the Dallas-based company on WBEZ.</p><p>Hashim Syed, who has run a 7-Eleven in the city&rsquo;s Rogers Park neighborhood since 1990, invited two WBEZ reporters to his store for an interview. He told them how the world&rsquo;s largest convenience-store chain has tightened rules for its franchisees over the years.</p><p>Syed said the company, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Seven &amp; I Holdings Co., had dumped its employment responsibilities on franchisees.</p><p>&ldquo;We are nothing more than a glorified manager,&rdquo; Syed said in the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/bigger-burgers-and-fries-franchising-blamed-low-wages-109978" target="_blank">WBEZ report</a>, broadcast April 8. &ldquo;I take the heat from the customer if anything goes wrong. I take the heat from the workers if something goes wrong.&rdquo;<br /><br />One week after the broadcast, 7-Eleven officials inspected his store. Syed said the inspection took place without notice. He identified the officials as Bill Engen and Ena Williams, both senior vice presidents based at the Dallas headquarters.</p><p>The next day, a 7-Eleven &ldquo;letter of notification&rdquo; accused Syed of violating his franchise agreement because some products were out of stock and because he allegedly was not using one of his hot-dog grills as required. The letter was accompanied by 17 photos showing spots on Syed&rsquo;s shelves where products were sold out. The letter did not mention his statements to WBEZ.</p><p>Warning letters from franchisors are not uncommon. The franchisees usually have a chance to fix the problems. But a letter could also lead to trouble, even a 7-Eleven takeover of the store.</p><p>&ldquo;This is nothing but retaliation,&rdquo; said Jas Dhillon, a 7-Eleven franchisee in Los Angeles and vice chair of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees. &ldquo;We carry over 2,500 items in our store, from soda pops to candies to hot dogs to magazines to lottery tickets. Being out of stock of 17 &mdash; that&rsquo;s less than 1 percent. Any given day, not just at 7-Eleven, at any of the other stores, you&rsquo;re going to have items that we run out of, especially when you just had a hot weekend.&rdquo;<br /><br />Dhillon said 7-Eleven was trying to silence Syed and pointed out that the Chicago franchisee once won a national award from the company because, Dhillon said, &ldquo;he ran the best store in the country.&rdquo;<br /><br />Engen and Williams did not respond to WBEZ requests for comment on Syed&rsquo;s case. Neither did the Chicago-area 7-Eleven official who issued Syed the warning letter.</p><p>Company spokeswoman Margaret Chabris sent a written statement that said her company &ldquo;does not discuss publicly matters concerning our relationships with individual 7-Eleven franchisees.&rdquo; Asked whether the 7-Eleven letter to Syed came in response to his WBEZ interview, Chabris did not answer.<br /><br />The interview was not the first time Syed had criticized 7-Eleven. He publishes a <a href="http://7-elevenfoac.com/data/newsletter/FOACMay2013FinalNewsletter.pdf" target="_blank">newsletter</a> for Chicago-area 7-Eleven franchisees that questions how the company treats them.<br /><br />In the WBEZ report, Syed blamed 7-Eleven policies and the franchise model for his store&rsquo;s low wages. &ldquo;That worker who is working also thinks &mdash; and I know it for a fact &mdash; that I am just greedy and I want to keep all the money in my pocket instead of giving him fair wages,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The report included competing claims by economists about how franchising affects wages and jobs.</p><p>In the report, Chabris and another 7-Eleven official said workplace conditions were the responsibility of franchisees.</p><p>Chabris added that Syed had a right to speak out. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s freedom of speech,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s fine.&rdquo;</p><p>Syed, meanwhile, is planning to board a Thursday flight from Chicago to Japan, where he will meet with other 7-Eleven franchisees. He said he is working to strengthen ties between 7-Eleven franchisees around the world so they have more power to stand up to the company.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/7-eleven-warns-chicago-franchisee-who-criticized-company-110064 Low-wage worker advocates slam immigration overhaul’s visa plan http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-worker-advocates-slam-immigration-overhaul%E2%80%99s-visa-plan-106679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ImmigrationGangOfEight.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposed immigration overhaul that a group of U.S. senators including Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) introduced Wednesday is worrying some advocates for low-wage Chicago workers.<br /><br />The advocates are pointing to a part of the plan that would bring foreign workers to the United States under a new program called the W Visa. The proposal, the advocates say, is short on resources for protecting the workers from wage theft, safety hazards and whistleblowing retaliation &mdash; problems that have plagued U.S. &ldquo;guest worker&rdquo; programs over the years.</p><p>&ldquo;What part of the legislation provides 3,500 new occupational safety monitors and wage inspectors?&rdquo; asked Arise Chicago organizer&nbsp;Jorge Mújica, referring to the number of new customs agents proposed by the bill. &ldquo;The plan only talks about hiring for border control,&rdquo; said Mújica, whose group focuses on workers at car washes, second-hand stores, embroidery shops and other sites.&nbsp;&ldquo;So no one can guarantee protections for the workers.&rdquo;</p><p>The W Visa program emerged last month from negotiations between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, the nation&rsquo;s largest union federation. The program would admit up to 20,000 low-skilled foreign workers starting in 2015. The annual cap would grow to 75,000 by 2018. The number of visas would fluctuate, depending on data such as job openings and unemployment rates.<br /><br />Employers say the W Visa would provide their first good mechanism for bringing in nonimmigrant workers for low-skilled jobs that are not seasonal. The industries could range from hospitality to meatpacking, laundries to home health care.&nbsp;The employers say they have a hard time finding workers already in the United States who are willing to fill certain positions and that raising wages to attract workers could put the companies out of business.</p><p>The bill would create a new agency, dubbed the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, within the Department of Homeland Security to manage the number of workers who come annually. The agency would also handle complaints about employers.<br /><br />In the negotiations, unions tried to limit any new influx of low-wage foreign workers into the U.S. labor market and to distance the W Visa program from an existing &ldquo;guest worker&rdquo; system that leaves many of the foreigners vulnerable to abuses.</p><p>AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the W Visa will neither tie the workers to a single employer nor drag down the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. &ldquo;We have created a new model, a modern visa system that includes both a bureau to collect and analyze labor market data, as well as significant worker protections,&rdquo; Trumka said in a statement this month. &ldquo;We expect that this new program, which benefits not just business, but everyone, will promote long overdue reforms by raising the bar for existing [visa] programs.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Leone José Bicchieri, executive director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, predicts the Senate bill would let down the visa recipients.<br /><br />&ldquo;In my experience with agricultural guest-worker programs, you have all of these protections in place and on paper,&rdquo; said Bicchieri, who worked for years as a farmworker organizer before joining the collaborative, which advocates for temporary workers. &ldquo;Now imagine having hundreds of thousands of [W Visa] workers all across the United States. And these workers are not talking with [government] monitors every day. There&rsquo;s not enough money to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re talking with supervisors whose job is to make sure they pick the crop or cut the meat or clean the room,&rdquo; Bicchieri added. &ldquo;And these supervisors are constantly shouting at these workers, saying things like, &lsquo;You better hurry up or this is the last time you&rsquo;ll come back and work on any of these programs and I&rsquo;ll make sure your cousins and any family member in your hometown never get accepted to come back.&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />Durbin&rsquo;s office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday did not comment on whether the W Visa program&rsquo;s labor protections were sufficient.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a> and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-worker-advocates-slam-immigration-overhaul%E2%80%99s-visa-plan-106679 Food Mondays: Chicken diplomacy http://www.wbez.org/foodmondays/food-mondays-chicken-diplomacy-98888 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP100825114158.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The health of a nation&#39;s chicken industry can actually be an economic indicator of sorts. The government of Uzbekistan is forcing its civil servants to accept payment in the form of chickens.</p><p><a href="http://registan.net/index.php/author/joshuafoust/" target="_blank">Joshua Foust</a> has an <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/the-annals-of-chicken-diplomacy/255734/">article</a> pondering the issue in the <em>Atlantic</em>. He also <a href="http://registan.net/index.php/author/joshuafoust/">blogs </a>about central Asia.</p></p> Mon, 07 May 2012 12:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/foodmondays/food-mondays-chicken-diplomacy-98888 Rustbelt city wants immigrants, skilled or not http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/3.JPG" style="width: 605px; height: 404px;" title="Deserted houses like this one mar Dayton’s East End. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Lifelong Dayton resident Monica Schultz, 36, brings me to the East End block where she grew up. “This whole street was full of families,” she says. “Kids were running around playing, all within my age range.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Now no kids are in sight.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz points to a half dozen abandoned houses, including one right next door to her family’s place. She says the city has boarded it up a few times but stray cats keep finding their way in.</p><p style="text-align: left;">“We had a flea infestation problem,” she tells me. “People walking by could see the fleas or feel the fleas or get the fleas. All of the yards in the neighborhood here were becoming infested with fleas.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz says the city can’t keep up with houses like this. “It’s one of many that need to be bulldozed,” she says. “But it’s on a list.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gas-drilling-could-take-air-out-offshore-wind-93875">Gas drilling could take air out of offshore wind</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Dayton’s population has been shrinking since the 1960s. Most of the area’s factory jobs are long gone. To save the city, Schultz has embraced a new idea: Help immigrants and refugees lay roots in Dayton.</p><p>Schultz, who owns a small marketing firm, helped lead community meetings that generated a 72-point plan called “Welcome Dayton.” City commissioners approved the plan this fall. The points range from better immigrant access to social services, to more translations of court materials, to grants for immigrants to open shops in a dilapidated commercial corridor, to a soccer event that supporters envision as a local World Cup tournament.</p><p>Schultz tells me the plan could revive a Dayton entrepreneurial spirit that sparked inventions ranging from the cash register to the airplane. “You would have small businesses,” she says. “You would have coffee shops and you would have bakeries and you would have specialty grocery stores.”</p><p>Dayton is among several rustbelt cities suffering from population loss and brain drain. To create businesses and jobs, some communities are trying to attract immigrants, especially highly educated ones. Dayton stands out for the attention its plan pays to immigrants without wealth or skills.</p><p>The plan even addresses people without permission to be in the country. One provision calls for police officers to quit asking suspects about their immigration status unless the crime was “serious.” Another point could lead to a city identification card that would help residents do everything from open a bank account to buy a cell phone.</p><p>City Manager Tim Riordan, Dayton’s chief executive, says welcoming all types of immigrants will make the area more cosmopolitan. “I think there would be a vibrancy,” he says. “We’d start to have some international investment of companies deciding they ought to locate here.”</p><p>Foreign-born residents so far amount to 3 percent of the city’s 142,000 residents. For a mid-sized U.S. city these days, that’s not many.</p><p>But Dayton’s immigrants and refugees are increasing their numbers and, Riordan says, they’re already making a difference. He points to a neighborhood north of downtown where some Ahiska Turks have settled. “They were refugees in Russia," he says. "Here they’ve bought houses. They’ve fixed them up. And, sometimes when I talk to hardware store owners, people will come in and they’ll buy a window at a time. ‘I’ve got enough money to put in another window.’ It’s slow-but-sure change.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 280px;" title="A Dayton pizza parlor run by Ahiska Turks adds life to a decaying neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>Not everyone in Dayton is on board with the plan.</p><p>In a corner tavern on the East End, a 62-year-old bartender serves the only customer what she calls his last can of beer for the night. It’s a Friday, just 11 p.m., but she’s closing. “The owner can’t pay me to stay any longer,” she tells me, speaking on condition I don’t name her or the bar.</p><p>The bartender says the tavern could be on its last legs and tells me what happened to three other East End bars where she worked. They all shut down. She says that’s because many of the neighborhood’s Appalachian families, who arrived for manufacturing jobs after World War II, have moved away.</p><p>“NCR closed down, Dayton Tire and Rubber closed down, GM and Delphi and Frigidaire,” she says, pausing only when her customer slams down the beer and bellows something about a “last paycheck.”</p><p>The bartender tells me she doesn’t like how Riordan and other Dayton officials are handling the exodus of families who’ve been paying local taxes for generations. “Why won’t he try to keep those kinds of people here?” she asks. “He wants to welcome the immigrants to come in here. What can&nbsp;they&nbsp;do? Where are they going to get the money to fix up anything? What jobs are they going to get to maintain what they fix up here? There are no jobs here. None.”</p><p>It’s not just locals like the bartender who have doubts about “Welcome Dayton.”</p><p>Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that pushes for strict immigration controls, acknowledges that attracting immigrants would increase the size of Dayton’s economy. “But that’s different than arguing that there’s a benefit,” he says. “Growing an area’s gross domestic product, but not the <em>per capita</em> GDP, doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t be very helpful. In fact, there might be problems with that.”</p><p>Camarota says the low-skilled immigrants would put downward pressure on wages for workers on Dayton’s bottom rungs.</p><p>But Italian-born economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, says low-skilled immigrants would bring what Dayton seeks—and more: “One, they will increase the variety of local restaurants, local shops. Second, they will provide a variety of local services, such as household services, care of the children, of the elderly. Third, they will also develop and bring an atmosphere of diversity and higher tolerance.” Peri says these low-skilled contributions would all help Dayton attract immigrants with more resources.</p><p>The willingness of many immigrants to perform manual labor for low pay, Peri adds, could create jobs for longtime residents. He points to landscaping companies: “They will need people who mow the lawn but also they will need accountants, salespersons, a manager and drivers.”</p><p>Dayton’s approach—welcoming immigrants with and without skills—is the “optimal strategy,” Peri says.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/4.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 219px;" title="A Dayton church translates sermons to Spanish through headphones. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Whether a city’s immigrant-integration plan can actually attract many people is another question. About an hour east of Dayton, the city of Columbus launched an immigrant-friendly initiative in 2002 and saw its foreign-born population grow fast. But that city’s economy is much more robust than Dayton’s. It had already been attracting immigrants for years.</p><p>The results of “Welcome Dayton” could depend on how it works for city residents like a 25-year-old mother whom I’ll call Ana López. (She&nbsp;doesn’t have papers to be in the country so I agreed not to use her real name.) López says she came from the Mexican state of Puebla as a teenager at the urging of a friend who had arrived in Dayton earlier.</p><p>López says her first job was in a restaurant with a big buffet. “We didn’t come to take work away from anyone,” she tells me in Spanish. “Rather, there are jobs nobody else wants.”</p><p>Now López and her husband have three kids, all U.S. citizens. The family has managed to buy a house. And it’s found a congregation, College Hill Community Church, that provides simultaneous Spanish interpretation through headphones.</p><p>But Dayton hasn’t always been hospitable. López says police officers caught her brother-in-law driving without a license and turned him over to federal officials, who deported him.</p><p>Looking at the “Welcome Dayton” plan, López says providing the ID cards and removing the police from immigration enforcement could make a difference for families like hers. “These families would tell their friends and relatives to move to Dayton,” she says.</p><p>That’s exactly what city leaders want to hear.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 The sooner the Bears lose, the better http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/sooner-bears-lose-better <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101226041784.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="341" width="512" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-13/AP101226041784.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p>As the Bears get set to host the Seattle Seahawks in their divisional playoff this Sunday, Chicagoans are starting to come together like they did when the Blackhawks glided toward hockey&rsquo;s Stanley Cup last spring.<br /><br />The excitement brings to mind some words of a 19th century German philosopher: &ldquo;Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.&rdquo;<br /><br />If religion is our opium, as Marx put it, then Chicago&rsquo;s National Football League franchise is our crack cocaine.<br /><br />More than three years since the economy began to collapse, the Chicago area&rsquo;s unemployment rate is hovering around 9 percent. Foreclosure filings are rising again. Our wages are anemic. Illinois lawmakers are raising our taxes. <br /><br />Gee, though, won&rsquo;t it be great if Julius Peppers knocks Matt Hasselbeck on his ass this Sunday?<br /><br />We have no connection to these multimillionaire gladiators, yet a few of us are already donning Bears jerseys. It&rsquo;s the only show of Chicago solidarity we can imagine.<br /><br />Some of us will even put money on the team, regardless of the odds. We might be a couple months behind on rent. But Devin Hester could go all the way!<br /><br />On Sunday, finally, we&rsquo;ll spend hours and hours on a couch, gazing into a liquid crystal display. We&rsquo;ll cheer now and then, but the experience will be entirely passive.<br /><br />Then, if the Bears win, the &ldquo;news&rdquo; coverage will crowd out most meaningful Chicago journalism for days. The coverage will quickly turn into hype about the next playoff game. And our addiction cycle will continue on.<br /><br />We could be smoking this rock until at least February 6, the sacred day known as &ldquo;Super Bowl Sunday.&rdquo;<br /><br />Marx may have been wrong about abolishing religion. But the sooner the Bears flame out, the sooner Chicagoans can build some solidarity for things that count.</p><p>*<em>This post was edited from its original state to remove a characterization of a mayoral candidate</em>.</p></p> Thu, 13 Jan 2011 20:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/sooner-bears-lose-better Inland port spreads across Will County plains http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%CB%9Cinland-port%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2-sprawls-across-will-county-plains-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Elwood.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Developers are connecting the nation's railways to enormous state-of-the art warehouses to make shipping easier for big companies like Walmart. One of the most ambitious of these projects is in southwest suburban Will County. And it's about to expand.<br /></strong><br />Neil Doyle is a vice-president of Oak Brook-based CenterPoint Properties Trust. We meet at a helicopter pad a few miles past Joliet. He says it's the best way to see his company's project there. His pilot straps us in.</p> <p>Ambi: Helicopter blades chop through the air during takeoff.</p> <p>We use headsets so we don't have to yell over the engine.</p> <p>DOYLE: We're hovering over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Logistics Park Chicago, as it's known. We built this between 2000 and 2002. Then we built the industrial park next to it -- three bridges, 25 miles of roads, water systems, wastewater plants, all new utilities. And what you're seeing is about a dozen trains in here today, the longest trains that run in the country.</p> <p>MITCHELL: What are they carrying and where's the stuff going?</p> <p>DOYLE: They're carrying boxes. These are 100 percent international boxes, packed on the shores of another country, from Asia to the Mediterranean.</p> <p>MITCHELL: Boxes as in cargo containers.</p> <p>DOYLE: Containers, yes. The majority here will be coming from the ports of L.A.-Long Beach, the nation's largest and busiest port complex. They're loaded on the trains. They're two miles long, the equivalent of 400 trucks. They show up here and they're unloaded for Midwest consumption -- furniture, electronics, auto parts, you name it. They're unloaded by those overhead diesel cranes. They're put onto trailers.</p> <p>And here's the key to what Doyle calls his inland port. Many of the semi-trailers don't drive away with the containers. They don't need to. They just go across a road to some giant warehouses.</p> <p>DOYLE: Whether it's Walmart, Target, Georgia Pacific, you name it. They go into these buildings and they go either to regional distribution centers or right to a store shelf. The perfect model, if you're the retailer, is they go right to the store.</p> <p>MITCHELL: How was the work getting done before?</p> <p>DOYLE: It was just very difficult. The railroads were moving goods but they were moving them to city center, into old antiquated yards in neighborhoods and industrial areas that couldn't accept the volumes that needed to come that way. It used to take a train about three days to get from L.A. to Joliet, another three days to get to downtown Chicago. Hey, Mike, could we fly one more loop around, maybe Elwood?</p> <p>PILOT: Yeah.</p> <p>Ambi: Helicopter blades.</p> <p>DOYLE: These two facilities you see on your left-hand side, those are Walmart's. These are Midwest import-distribution centers. They're the biggest user of industrial space right now in this park. Each one of those buildings is a half-mile long. Together, they're 50 percent larger than McCormick Place in its entirety.</p> <p>Doyle says a couple years ago his company realized something.</p> <p>DOYLE: We're going to run out of land before we run out of demand. We started acquiring land here North.</p> <p>What this means is everything we've seen on this helicopter so far is just the beginning. The company's brought in Union Pacific to build a second rail yard.</p> <p>DOYLE: What you'll have is one 6,000-acre park, anchored by the two largest railroads of the world, at the end of their longest run, in their biggest facilities. And you'll end up with about 30-plus million square feet of industrial space.</p> <p>MITCHELL: Who will be your industrial users and when will they open up?</p> <p>DOYLE: Well, I can hope and I can guess. But it's a 10-year marketing effort.</p> <p>The helicopter pilot takes us back toward the pad. And Doyle says this Will County project doesn't just benefit big companies. It expands the local property-tax base. And it's creating jobs.</p> <p>DOYLE: This is 100-percent union construction. And there are probably 1,000 people that work at that BNSF facility on three different shifts. And the logistics jobs: This is not your grandfather's warehouse. These are people riding around on forklifts with laptops and bar scanners. Our models show that we'll hit about 25,000 jobs when our work is complete here. And these are jobs you can live on.</p> <p>Actually, that's a point of contention. And it's something I hope to explore after this helicopter lands.<br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/cmitchell/2010/08/helicopter-ride-evokes-nagging-question/35705">Helicopter ride evokes nagging question</a><br />More: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44063">Taxpayers subsidize low-paid warehouse jobs</a></strong></p></p> Thu, 26 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%CB%9Cinland-port%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2-sprawls-across-will-county-plains-0 Wages Up Or Down? http://www.wbez.org/ahill/2009/02/wages-up-or-down/7255 <p>Yesterday I <a href="http://wbezhardworking.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/wages-riseas-jobs-are-cut/">posted</a> a story from the New Yorker about rising wages during economic recessions--there have been a couple of really thoughtful comments I wanted to point out. <em>Are those of you with jobs making more or less than you were a year ago?</em> <strong>steve February 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm</strong> One thing to point out is that while average wages may be increasing, that doesn't necessarily mean that any one individual's salary is going up. If a company cuts 1000 of its entry level workers, the average wage will probably go up, because it will be dominated more by the higher paid, more senior workers that are left. When GM lays off all of it's manufacturing workers, and only has the CEO and executives left, you can bet that GM's average wage will be higher. It's certainly possible for layoffs to have the opposite effect as well: a company trying to cut costs by getting rid of highly paid, senior managers. I don't know which one would be more common. All I'm saying is, if I hear that the average wage is going up right now, I'm still not going to conclude that anyone is getting a raise, at least based on what I've seen. <strong>reidmccamish February 25, 2009 at 3:17 pm</strong> I'm with Steve on this one, I think a lot of what we're seeing is that the lower wage jobs are the ones being cut the most. Even if high and low wage jobs were being cut proportionally (say, 10% of low wage jobs lost, and 10% of high wage jobs lost as a simple example), there are a lot more low wage jobs to begin with, thus average wage would go up in this scenario. To really see what's going on, you'd need year-to-year data for the surviving jobs, which would be harder to obtain. My intuition is that you'd see slower wage growth within surviving jobs during a recession, despite the average wage stats going up for the above reason. <strong>Stephanie February 25, 2009 at 8:16 pm</strong> My company recently laid off a number of people to contain costs, and at the same time cut the wages of the remaining employees by 2%. If and when the time comes to hire people to replace those laid off, they will probably hire younger, cheaper laborers. The New Yorker article talks about rising productivity. But productivity has been rising for decades, with no comparable rise in worker wages for the the same period of time. If the minimum wage over the past 30 years had kept up with company profits, GDP and the other economic measures, the minimum wage would be about $19/hour.</p> Thu, 26 Feb 2009 17:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/ahill/2009/02/wages-up-or-down/7255 Wages Rise...As Jobs Are Cut http://www.wbez.org/ahill/2009/02/wages-riseas-jobs-are-cut/7253 <p>James Surowiecki at the New Yorker has an <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2009/03/02/090302ta_talk_surowiecki?printable=true">article </a>‚ that explains why average wages are rising...even as people are losing work.‚  "This is the Age of the Incredible Shrinking Everything. Home prices, the stock market, G.D.P., corporate profits, employment: they're all a fraction of what they once were. Yet amid this carnage there is one thing that, surprisingly, has continued to grow: the paycheck of the average worker. Companies are slashing payrolls: 3.6 million people have lost their jobs since the recession started, with half of those getting laid off in just the past three months. Yet average hourly wages jumped almost four per cent in the past year. It's harder and harder to find and keep a job, but if you've got one you may well be making more than you did twelve months ago. This combination of rising unemployment and higher wages seems improbable. But, as it turns out, it's what history would lead us to expect. Even during the early years of the Great Depression, manufacturing workers actually saw their real wages rise, and wage cuts have been scarce in every recession since. Oil and wheat prices may rise and fall instantaneously to reflect supply and demand, but wages are "sticky": even when the economy goes bad, it takes a lot to make them fall."</p> Wed, 25 Feb 2009 13:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/ahill/2009/02/wages-riseas-jobs-are-cut/7253