Walmart Opens Second Supercenter in Chicago

The West Chatham store's opening ends a years-long battle with the city

By Anthony Ponce
|  Thursday, Jan 26, 2012  |  Updated 6:00 AM CDT
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West Chatham store's opening ends a years-long battle with the city.

West Chatham store's opening ends a years-long battle with the city.

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Wednesday's opening of the second Walmart Supercenter in Chicago ends a heated seven-year battle with the city.

All of the proposed Walmart locations have faced huge opposition from local labor unions that fought against non-union jobs brought to the city at just above minimum wage.

But since the groundbreaking of the West Chatham store last summer, Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) has maintained that in this economy some jobs are better than no jobs.

"Walmart came to the table and made a concession that they're paying at least 50 cents an hour higher than the minimum wage here in Illinois," Brookings said last summer, "which is really comparable to many of the union shops, the Jewel and the Dominicks."

The 157,000-square-foot store that opened Wednesday in Chatham created about 400 jobs in the neighborhood. And unlike some of the other locations, this full-size store sells Walmart merchandise plus a grocery offering fresh produce.

Two years ago Walmart announced a five-year plan to add several dozen stores, 10,000 jobs and a half-billion dollars in sales tax revenue in the city of Chicago.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel were expected to appear at the opening, but both canceled.

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