What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Chicago’s big box law

Stacey Vanek Smith Jul 26, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Chicago’s big box law

Stacey Vanek Smith Jul 26, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Chicago may not be Wal-Mart’s kind of town. The city council votes today on a “living wage” ordinance. It would require big stores like Wal-Mart to pay workers more than the state’s minimum wage. Here’s Stacey Vanek-Smith.


STACEY VANEK-SMITH: Chicago would be the biggest city so far to pass a living wage ordinance, joining places like Santa Fe and San Francisco.

The law would require mega-retailers to pay workers at least $10 an hour by 2010. Advocates say at $6.50 an hour, Illinois’ minimum wage isn’t enough to live on in the Windy City and when huge stores like Wal-Mart pay those salaries, it can depress overall wages in the area.

Clark University labor expert Gary Chaison says these laws can hurt Wal-Mart, but not because of the money.

GARY CHAISON: I don’t think Wal-Mart is that much concerned about the economics of a living wage-what they are concerned with is probably the embarrassment that’s brought on.

Critics say these laws could drive employers out taking jobs and wages with them.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.