For years his rallies and platitudes helped keep Wal-Mart outside Chicago, but now the biggest box has opened its first store inside city limits. And even though Rev. Pfleger has said that Wal-Mart jobs are “slave jobs” thousands of jobseekers showed up to be “oppressed.”
More than 15,000 people applied for the nearly 400 jobs at the store, said Ed Smith, the store’s manager, adding that 98 percent of the employees live in the neighborhood. He said the lowest paid employees make $7.25 an hour, something only two workers earn.
(Another one for the “Don’t these people realize they’re being oppressed” file.) A summary of the long saga that eventually led to opening day in Chicago:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. started looking at Chicago five years ago and proposed two stores. Zoning changes were approved for the West Side store in May 2004, but plans for a South Side store were abandoned when aldermen refused zoning changes there. In January, Wal-Mart instead opened a store literally across the street from the city limits. Then in July, the City Council approved an ordinance that would have required the biggest retailers to pay employees at least $10 hourly _ plus $3 in fringe benefits _ by mid-2010. Mayor Richard Daley vetoed ordinance, and aldermen were unable to override his veto.