Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The bix box veto and the aftermath

It's official Mayor Daley has used his veto for the first time in his administration on the bix box ordinance on September 11th. According to today's Sun-Times article he has procured at least four votes to maintain his veto over the ordinance.

Also brought up today was the references to a racial aspect of this ordinance...

"Not one mayor or alderman has ever been threatened in the suburban area. ... Only on the West Side. Only on the South Side," Daley told cheering supporters at 119th and Marshfield, vacant site of a Target store placed on hold after the City Council's 35-to-14 vote in favor of the ordinance.

"It was all right for the North and Southwest sides [of Chicago] to get big boxes before this. No one said anything. All the sudden, when we talk about economic development in the black community, there's something wrong. ... This issue defines whether or not you stand for economic development on this site or are you going to let this site stand idle? That is unacceptable."

I must admit I like this quote from big box opponent Ald. Bill Beavers from the Chicago Tribune...

"I think the mayor did the right thing," said Ald. William Beavers (7th). "I voted against the ordinance because I felt that $7 an hour was better than no dollars.

"It's a union issue, but the unions need to get off their behinds and organize instead of coming to the City Council to try to get us to organize for them," Beavers asserted.

Anyway, this charge was denied by Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon...

"We're looking to bring people out of poverty and pay them a living wage. We're not looking at whether they're black, white or Hispanic. We're not trying to be divisive in any community in Chicago. For him to say that is not fair," Gannon said.

Gannon said the coalition that includes Jobs for Justice, ACORN, the Grass Roots Collaborative, Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers came together to fight the Austin Wal-Mart and stayed together to push for higher retail wages.

"We thought we had more collective strength here in the city than in the outlying areas," Gannon said.

Daley was able to get the support of Aldermans, Danny Solis, Shirley Coleman (who's ward may get a Wal-Mart store at some point, George Cardenas, and then there's Helen Shiller. Helen Shiller didn't actually vote on the ordinace but she lined up to support Daley in his veto. Check out the why part...

On Tuesday, Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) agreed to join in upholding the veto. Shiller was the only alderman who did not cast a vote in July. She said she made the decision to oppose a living wage she has long championed, not to save the Target store she hopes to bring to the Wilson Yards project in her ward, but because she thinks the ordinance was too narrow.

"A different ordinance I would have supported and supported all the way through. . . . The majority of smaller boxes who don't pay a living wage -- including restaurants and all of the fast-food places -- none of them are affected by this."

Finally don't think this is going away. 6th ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle is seeking to continue to fight for this ordinance...

What's next for the big box movement after the City Council sustains Mayor Daley's veto? How about a citywide referendum on the Feb. 27 ballot.

Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) said she plans to introduce a referendum at today's Council meeting to prove a poll showing 71 percent support for the "living wage" was no fluke. If the poll and referendum results mirror each other, supporters plan to introduce a citywide minimum wage ordinance not confined to big box stores.

"This is not a defeat. This is just a delay. We're not going to go away," Lyle said.

Lyle's ward was the recipient of a big box chain, Target back in 2003. So I'm kind of surprised that she supports this ordinance although for the most part the 6th ward of Chicago isn't exactly a struggling community.


grand old partisan 1:09 PM  

If Gannon really wanted to “bring people out of poverty and pay them a living wage,” he wouldn’t be advocating such a narrow mandate. Don’t the people who work at McDonalds, Walgreens, CVS, or any other local establishment also need a ‘living wage?’ Why stop short at big box stores?

Well, if I may be so bold as to answer my own question – it’s because Gannon really doesn’t care about poverty or living wages. He only cares about getting retribution on corporations that have twarted attempts by unions to organize their employees. Period. This law has nothing to do with helping the poor, downtrodden masses and everything to do with sticking it to notoriously anti-union companies.

Last time I checked, the City Council was supposed to look out for the interests of the city and ALL it’s citizens, not just the few hundred who will be lucky enough to work in big box stores, and not just the union bosses who want petty revenge.

Bravo to Mayor Daley for seeing through the BS and doing the right thing.

Pat Hickey 1:15 PM  

Gannon got black-mailed into going along with Andy the Red and SEIU.

No WWIII, no big deal. Only ones to get hurt are the Trades Unions.

Now, Andy's pals will make 'systemic racism' the buggaboo in favor of Corporate Greed. - It all works.

Andy can''t lose.

Bill Baar 4:04 PM  

Daley sure came out swinging...

Tom Balanoff sure has been low profile on this or am I just missing it? I was surprized to see him interviewd last night (on CLTV?)

Maybe he wants to run for Mayor.

NW burbs,  6:49 PM  

Instead of everyone on the conservatives' side (from Wal*Mart to Da May'r) constantly advocating for a race to the bottom -- lower wages, less benefits, weaker social safety nets... -- shouldn't we be following the unions' lead in fighting to build everyone up (not just the select few with names like Walton or Hilton)?


GOP, the "lucky few" working in big box stores spend their money somewhere. Be it McDonald's or the local corner market, those "lucky few" help drive neighborhood economies. By discouraging the best for them, Daley and conservatives discourage true, comprehensive economic advancement.

The big box stores said draw and Daley panicked and fell for their bluff. There's no way they would've stayed out of the city -- too much sales potential at stake for them.

Daley chickened out and bought into the weak-kneed, hollow conservative rhetoric.

JB Powers 9:43 PM  


"shouldn't we be following the unions' lead in fighting to build everyone up"

No, we should not.

If a union wants to organize, and fight it out with management, they can do that on their own, and I fully support their right to organize and negoatiate contracts. What I do not support, nor do I think is supportable, is the City Council forcing businesses to pay a arbitrary wage to an employee. A worker and a business are each perfectly capable of making that determination on their own without the interference of the City Council.


Pat Hickey 8:09 AM  

JBP, Levois, et al,

Here isthe Comintern's view on SEIU , my old Union, under the deftly lefty hand of Andy Stern.

grand old partisan 9:29 AM  

NW Burbs - You are right – people with an income help drive neighborhood economies. And people with higher incomes can drive them further and faster. But that still doesn’t explain: why just big box stores? Imagine how great the economy in those neighborhoods would be if the employees at McDonalds and the local corner market were also making $13 an hour. Why are you supporting such an arbitrary half-measure?

Of course, this is all academic. As I understood it, this bill was about providing a “living wage,” not some “trickle down” theory of economic development. And, again, if people who work at WalMart need a living wage, so do the people who work at McDonalds and the local market. Period.

Arguing in favor of a living wage for one and not the other is “hollow rhetoric.”

This ordinance has NOTHING to do with economic development or providing a “living wage” in these communities. It has EVERYTHING to do with petty revenge on a select group of employers that union leaders have been fighting a losing jihad against for years. If you disagree, then give me a clear, logical explanation of why only big box stores should have to pay this higher wage.

steve schnorf 10:00 AM  

I think the above comments are totally unfair to Gannon. He's a good guy, doing a good job; the fact that not everyone agrees with the big box ordinance is no reason to turn him into a whipping boy.

Anonymous,  11:21 AM  

The idea that Gannon was forced into this is laughable. The ordinance wouldn't have gotten this far without the CFL's full support.

Ditto for Balanoff.

Pat Hickey 11:58 AM  

Gannon is a great guy. That is the problem, A great guy got set up by some real crumbs and the fallout won't affect the louses who pushed CFL into this fight. That is a shame.

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