The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

City Council Unanimously Approves New Wal-Mart

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 30, 2010 8:20PM

Photo by code poet
By a unanimous vote, the Chicago City Council today approved a proposal for the city's second Wal-Mart to be built in the Pullman Park commercial development on the city's South Side. The approval comes after lengthy negotiations between the retail giant and labor leaders that created an agreement on living wages for workers at the new store, though the agreement only applies to this new store and not future Wal-Marts. The unanimous vote meant that several typically pro-union aldermen voted for approval with trepidation. From the Tribune's Clout Street:

Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd, a pro-union alderman, lamented Wal-Mart’s domination of the nation’s retail market and its tendency to sell foreign-made products, but voted for Pullman Park because of the need for jobs and additional tax revenue. “We’re at a point where we either have it, or we don’t have it,” Mell said. “It’s insane for us to spend our money in Oak Lawn.”

Ald. Virginia Rugai, 19th, long a union backer in the debate, said she was voting yes but would keep an eye on the new store to see how it affects the city. “I question if we become a city of Wal-Marts what happens to our small businesses?” she asked. “I will be watching very carefully to see what impact it has here.”

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) used an interesting analogy when discussing his joy over the brokered deal and subsequent approval of the store: “It’s rough being in the middle between Wal-Mart and the unions. But when we finally got both parties together, they were saying the same thing... Wal-Mart moved off their position. Getting Wal-Mart to do something is like turning around the Titanic. You can’t do it fast. It has to be done slowly. Everything has to go up the chain.” Comparing the mega-retailer to a giant ship that sunk probably isn't the best analogy to make, especially if, as Fran Speilman suggests, this approval will pave the way for several more stores, including the long-disputed location in Chatham.

The new Pullman Park store will be a Wal-Mart Supercenter, meaning groceries will be sold at the location as well as clothes, electronics, and a wide variety of Twilight paraphernalia.