wbbmwalmart Zoning Committee Approves Wal Mart Expansion

(AP photo)

CHICAGO (CBS) ―The Chicago City Council’s Zoning Committee voted unanimously to let Wal-Mart build its second store in the city.

Chicago union leaders say they’ve reached an agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that would bump pay above minimum wage at a proposed new store on the city’s South Side.

The Chicago Federation of Labor says starting workers would be paid $8.75 an hour if the store is approved. Illinois’ minimum wage is slated to increase from $8 to $8.25 on July 1.

Wal-Mart’s expansion plans in the city limits had been on hold because of negotiations over wages.

A rally for jobs was held Thursday at the State of Illinois plaza led by 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale. He may finally get his wish.

After years of resistance, the tide suddenly turned in Wal-Mart’s favor on Wednesday after the retailer indicated new employees would get 60 cents an hour raises after successfully completing their first year on the job.

Mayor Richard M. Daley is rooting for Wal-Mart because he says the recession has made jobs evaporate.

“That’s it. No more antes. This is it,” said Daley. “They’re not bargaining. This is what they’re proposing. This is worked out.”

Daley has questioned opposition to Wal-Mart’s expansion in the city when the retailer operates stores in the surrounding suburbs.

Wal-Mart has said it wants to build dozens of stores in the city.

Labor leaders say they’ll use the concessions from Wal-Mart at other stores the retailer wants to build in the city.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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