Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chicagoans flock to Wal-Mart jobs

You know back in 2004 there was a debate about letting Wal-Mart open a couple of locations in the city. One was in the Austin neighborhood the other would have been on 83rd Street near Simeon High School. The council rejected the one on 83rd but they gave the go ahead on the location in Austin.

The debate was on the fact that Wal-Mart don't pay their employees anything. This was also about the fact that Wal-Mart isn't unionized and since Chicago is said to be a union city, they had some support on the city council. Austin is a struggling neighborhood that can use these jobs and the unions and their supporters on the city council just so decided to have one issue to prevent Wal-Mart from coming into Austin. It was mainly the union question. I have no doubt that the aldermen in Austin and in Auburn Gresham/Chatham were in big support of bringing Wal-Mart in for if nothing else bringing jobs to those who wants them.

Then there's the complaint that Wal-Mart put mom and pop establishments out of business. Well Capitalism is a cold system it requires you to be flexible or you're out of business. So can one blame Wal-Mart for the fact that some small establishments can't keep up or innovate or whatever they have to do. And let me just state for the record that I'm unabashedly for entrepreneurship and small business. It's not merely the fortune 500 companies that can bring in the bacon.

Well this comes to mind because there's now a Wal-Mart in Evergreen Park. I passed by there a few times when I was home for the holidays. It was newly constructed and ready to go. It was on the site of a very nice banquet facility. And this Wal-Mart is right next door to a Sam's Club which has been there for a few years.

Tell me people don't want to work. According to this Sun-Times article...
24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.

The store is located at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary. It is easily accesible to those without cars because all you have to do is catch a Pace or CTA bus to get there. You can take a bus along 95th street or you get take a Western Ave. bus.

This is what a Wal-Mart official had to say about this development...

Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.

"In our typical hiring process, you're pretty successful if you have 3,000 applicants," he said. "They were really crowing about 11,000 in Oakland, Calif., last year. So to get 25,000-plus applications and counting, I think is astonishing."

Oh yeah this store was union built. A protest over minority set asides were settled in a day. And Wal-Mart proved itself to be a corporate citizen. I'm sure this was to satify a lot of discontent out there about Wal-Mart and they did the right thing. And the far south side residents have more jobs to fight over.


Anonymous said...

I think this would be the absolute best opportunity for chicagoland Unions to "Put Up or Shut Up". This is the store that could show the world Chicago is a union town. Walmart hardly pays enough for the bus-fare let alone the rent. I hope the Unions were smart enough to have organizers also apply for jobs. Patrick McDonough, Union Member of Chicago, Illinois.

Anonymous said...

And at one time Chicagoans flocked to dangerous, low-wage meat packing jobs. At one time children flocked to work in factories. There will always be a lot of people desperate for work of any kind if you keep large numbers in poverty. What does that prove?

Of course, Wal-Mart will also require taxpayers to subsidize their cost of business by not paying their employees enough to get off public aid, and the extra profits they make by squeezing every last dime out of the community will go to Arkansas instead of going to small business owners who live in the area.

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