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JULY 15, 2004
2:02 PM
Madeline Talbott (312) 939-7488 Ext 125
Big Box Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance to be Introduced

WASHINGTON - July 15 - Press Conference

When: Tuesday July 20th 10:00

Where: 2nd Floor City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle

ACORN and a coalition of labor and community organizations will be introducing an ordinance at the next meeting of the City Council to set standards for big box stores coming into Chicago. Aldermen sponsoring the ordinance will be on hand to speak about the need for setting standards at big box stores. The ordinance will require new large retail stores to pay a Living Wage of about $10.50 an hour, provide benefits equal to $3.00 an hour, use first source hiring, provide access to community, labor and other organizations to area outside of the store, and guarantee free speech in the workplace.

The ACORN member’s board voted to oppose Wal-Mart coming into the city until they agree to pay the same wage and benefits that Costco pays on the north side. Costco is a big box store, but it starts employees at $10.50 an hour and offers affordable family health coverage to its employees. The City of Chicago assisted in the planning process that brought Costco together with community organizations to negotiate wage and benefits. The City Planning Department is offering no such assistance to get Wal-Mart’s wages and benefits to the same level. If north side residents are worth $10.50 an hour plus full family health, then south and west side residents deserve the same.

Lawyers from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law have analyzed the proposed ordinance and found it consistent with both Chicago’s home rule authority and Illinois state law. Their legal memo will be available at the press conference for any who are interested.


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