Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Chicago alderman accuses unions of strongarming colleagues over "big box" ordinance

Ald. Joe "No Foie Gras For Me" Moore is spearheading the Chicago City Council drive to raise the minimum wage for large "big box" retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Moore, whose 49th Ward is not surprisingly lacking in attractive retail outlets, harrumphs that Wal-Mart and the like "can afford" to pay the higher wages.

Perhaps. But that doesn't make it less likely that these chains will open new stores in Chicago? Stores that aren't built here, won't employ Chicagoans.

Moore's neighbor to the west is 50th Ward Alderman Bernie Stone.

Bernie wants to block Moore's bill. And he had some interesting things to say yesterday to the Chicago Sun-Times:

"The unions have backed aldermen against the wall. They've threatened to fund opponents against them and to solicit opponents to run against" those who dare to oppose the big-box ordinance, Stone said

"I'm not stupid. I know certain aldermen have been threatened. That's the type of campaign the unions have run. I think it's despicable what's been done. They figure they've got us by the short hairs."

Chicago Federation of Labor President Dennis Gannon, who has led the charge for the big-box ordinance, emphatically denied strong-arming aldermen.

"I can categorically tell you that the Chicago Federation of Labor has not made any threats to any alderman at any time," Gannon said.

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