A Wal-Mart Job Is Better Than No Job

That is the lesson Chicago politicians need to learn:

Chicago needs new jobs. Wal-Mart wants to provide jobs to Chicago. Alderman Howard Brookins wants Wal-Mart in his 21st Ward. Yet the company and the alderman face huge resistance from the City Council to a proposal for a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the South Side, at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue just west of the Dan Ryan.

What’s there now? A vacant lot. A vacant lot where no one is working. The construction of that store on that vacant site would put hundreds of Chicagoans to work. Once the store was opened, at least 500 people would get jobs.

What’s the holdup? For Chicago politicians, Wal-Mart jobs are the wrong kind of jobs. They’re not union jobs.

The Chicago Tribune has more.

83 Responses to “A Wal-Mart Job Is Better Than No Job”


  • You know what the holdup is. Once Wal-Mart opens too many other stores are going to close down and more jobs lost. They probably also don’t like buying junk made in China.

  • I second that, the Chicago Outfit needs a cut and Wal-Mart is to cheap to play the game. Pay your dues like everyone else to get a piece of the action. But Wal-Mart just wants to get, get, get, and doesn’t put anything back. It just creates social welfare problems that end up costing the city more. Those social problems come directly from the 5,000 new in the brink of absolute poverty jobs they create.

  • Gustavo,

    Of course, so its alot better to have empty lots with no jobs. Visit your local ghetto one day – there arent many more jobs to lose, precisely because of politicians with your mindset.

    Mario,

    Its completely false. There is no proof that Wal-Mart leaves less jobs. See here, for example.

  • Not exactly sure that they leave less jobs, I actually think that small businesses can compete if they are willing to be creative. So honestly I’m not one of those people that say that they’re going to come in and devastate the local economy. What I am saying is that they are going to add 5,000 people to the roster of barley making it.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/22298/ this story sort of illustrates what I’m talking about, but it’s not the whole story.

    In an essence you’re adding 5,000 new working poor that create different kinds of social problems or you’re moving them into a different income bracket. I can see how it may seem a humble idea to have 5,000 new jobs as opposed to no jobs.

    This whole empty lot thing is also just a public relations spin to make it look like there is wide spread Detroit / Michigan type poverty, the fact is that Chicago used to be a major manufacturing hub. Industrial complexes had tremendous amount of land, that at times sits derelict for some time. Believe it or not some folks make money on these properties, trough exchanges, working the numbers and paper, so they do remain income generating sources for the fellas that play that game.

    Some of these are industrial complexes that are surrounded by other industrial complexes, so one empty space is like having an abandoned home in a city block.

    Wal-Mart has been doing a good job at convincing neighboring towns to set up shop, and they do get some Chicago business. But Target is also a strong corporation and they seem to be in direct competition with Wal-Mart, the prices are comparable, and the place is cleaner with less annoying employees. You can see a clear difference between Target and Wal-Mart employees. A typical Wal-Mart employee, in my experience, looks like they are about to keel over, just came out of rehab, or have some serious personal issues. It could also be the cheap lighting. Target employees look, healthy, and happy. If Wal-Mart employees where livestock, I would close the joint down for animal abuse.

    Target by the way has been in Chicago for some time now, and has stores within the city.

    I must admit that I’m guilty of being a Sam’s Club shopper at times, the wife and I are seriously considering switching to the competitor Costco. Mainly because they stopped carrying some of our favorite products and that was highly annoying. Costco carries some higher end stuff and at awesome prices.

    If you know CPR then shop at Wal-Mart, you may find that your skills may come in handy to bring back the cashier.

  • You can see a clear difference between Target and Wal-Mart employees. A typical Wal-Mart employee, in my experience, looks like they are about to keel over, just came out of rehab, or have some serious personal issues. It could also be the cheap lighting. Target employees look, healthy, and happy. If Wal-Mart employees where livestock, I would close the joint down for animal abuse.

    This is the main reason why I am such a Wal-Mart supporter. People see the difference between Wal-Mart employees and other retail employees. Even critics of Wal-Mart admit as much. Wal-Mart employees are generally very old (passed retirement age), minority (meaning usually discriminated against minorities – blacks, latinos, east asians), language impaired, little to no education, and overall poor. Whereas the employees in other retailers are notably less so.

    Do you notice a pattern there? Wal-Mart tends to hire the people who are at the bottom of the labor force, the people who have the hardest time finding employment. This is why Wal-Mart pays less, because it gives jobs primarily to those who have less productivity. The two go hand in hand. If you force Wal-Mart to pay more, by say increasing the minimum wage, or mandating that Wal-Mart provide more expensive healthcare, you are then forcing Wal-Mart to hire more productive people – meaning, less employment for the people who need it most, those at the bottom of the labor market.

    Think about it this way: lets say you had a choice between two employees. Employee A gave you about $8/hour worth of productivity and employee B gave you $10/hour of productivity. If your cost of labor, including wages, healthcare, and other benefits, was $9/hour, you would have to hire employee B. No company, under those circumstances, would hire employee A – after all, instead of losing $1/hour ($8 – $9), you could lose zero by simply refusing to hire the employee.

    This is the path that most other companies have voluntarily chosen. They choose to pay more, but because they dont want to lose money, they hire more productive employees. Meaning their employee base is the opposite of Wal-Marts, namely: generally of working age, white, discernible english, some education, and overall middle class.

    But if you were a member of that often forgotten underclass, employee A, namely: generally very old (passed retirement age), minority (meaning usually discriminated against minorities – blacks, latinos, east asians), language impaired, little to no education, and overall poor – which economic model would you prefer? The Wal-Mart model gives you less than perfect health insurance, less than perfect wages, and limited benefits, but the alternative model gives you nothing at all.

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