Thursday, September 14, 2006

When Cities Consider Living Wages

[O]ur cities have seen growing numbers of frontline workers who aren't earning enough to get by. But since we passed our city wage laws, we've started to turn the tide. More working parents are able to quit their second jobs and spend time with their kids. Others are able to go back to school and get the education that helps them advance to better-paying jobs. And more are able to pay the rent and reduce their debt.

Some have asked whether our cities are different ... But when we were considering our wage laws we heard the same warnings ... "If you raise the minimum wage, retailers will build outside the city" .... [O]ur cities have easily accessible shopping areas just outside the city limits. But 10 ... are today paying a living wage at their stores in San Francisco. And 11 more -- including Wal-Mart, Target, Sam's Club and Lowe's -- are doing the same at their stores in Santa Fe.

No large retailer has closed a store because of our wage laws, and several are opening new ones, including Home Depot in San Francisco and Wal-Mart in Santa Fe.

- - San Francisco and Santa Fe administrators in a response to a Chicago proposal to raise retail minimum wages

Despite representing a win-win for local businesses and city dwellers employed by those businesses and despite showing support to the tune of 71% of Chicagoans, the proposed "Living Wage" Ordinance (which would have required that large retail stores pay $10 per hour and $3 in benefits by July 2010) was vetoed by Mayor Richard Daley. Daley was also able to flip the 2 city aldermanic votes that he needed yesterday to sustain his veto. And the aldermen were the ones who looked bad.

1 comment:

  1. A couple of comments / observations -

    Wasnt a recent law similiar to this overturned in Maryland because it singled out Wal Mart? In order for it to pass muster, I believe it is going to have to be less targeted, and if it is a good thing shouldnt it be more wide spread? In one of the supporting comments it says they made the law apply to companies with more than 25 employees.

    It is also interesting that minimum wage laws are being made at the local level, while any attempt to address immigration reform at the local level is dissed.