Wal-Mart May Talk with Unions
Wal-Mart has been blocked at almost every turn in its attempt to try and get new stores built in Chicago. It’s gotten to the point, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report, that the company may be ready to do the almost unthinkable and sit down and talk with unions.
According to the report, Wal-Mart is scheduled to meet at an upcoming meeting with Dennis Gannon, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, as well as Jorge Ramirez, secretary-treasurer, and Ron Powell, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 881. The company has not yet confirmed such a meeting will take place.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) told the Sun-Times, “Even if nothing comes out of it — even if we agree to disagree — we should sit down and air our differences. It shows good faith on both parts.
Wal-Mart has opposed so-called “living wage” measures that it believes single it and other large retailers out. The company, which has consistently argued that it pays above market rates in many cases, believes it would be put at a disadvantage if forced to pay even higher wages while smaller competitors were exempt from the measure.
The retailer, however, may be willing to support a so-called “community benefits agreement” that would mean all its new stores would be built entirely by union members.
Discussion Questions: Do you see Wal-Mart agreeing to talk with labor representatives as making a major difference in whether the company will get the go-ahead to build stores in Chicago? Does the chain’s experience in Chicago have implications in other parts of the country?
- Wal-Mart OKs talks with labor to push expansion – Chicago Sun-Times
- Tyranny Chicago style – Chicago Now