Wal-Mart: Opening Near You?

Retailer plans to push for five new stores in Chicago

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Wal-Mart is planning to push for approval for as many as five new stores in the city.

    Due to zoning laws and union leaders' efforts, there is only one Wal-Mart in the city of Chicago. However, that could soon change. The retailer is planning to push for approval for as many as five new stores in the city.

    For years, organized labor has fought to prevent the non-union retailer from expanding, accusing the company of paying low wages and not offering health insurance to all workers.

    But Alderman Howard Brookins (21st) believes new stores would provide the boost the local economy needs.

    "In an economy where retailers are laying off people, it makes more sense than ever to pull the trigger," Brookins told the Chicago Tribune. "We need to jump-start our economy. This would mean hundreds of millions of dollars in construction revenue."

    Union leaders say that Wal-Mart though is "part of the problem, not part of the solution."

    "It's clear they are trying to take advantage of the economic crisis that's out there and use that for political leverage," said Jerry Morrison, executive director of the Illinois State Council of the Service Employees International Union.

    It is likely that Mayor Daley would support Wal-Mart, in the hopes of keeping more taxpayers' money in the city rather than the suburbs. His brother's law firm won the zoning change for the city's one Wal-Mart.

    The retailer has not yet commented.

    Matt Bartosik, former blogger of The Chicago Traveler and editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, often browses the clearance aisle.