Target Corp. is halting plans for new stores in Chicago in response to a proposed city law that would set minimum wage and benefit levels for employees of big-box retailers.
The decision by the Minneapolis-based discount chain represents a setback for at least two high-profile retail projects in the city that were to be anchored by a Target, one on the Wilson Yard site in Uptown and another next to Interstate 57 in Morgan Park. Target told the developers of both projects last week that it won’t open stores if the law passes.
A part of me hopes that the ordinance passes and big box retailers split. Target, Home Depot, Best Buy and the rest certainly couldn’t afford to increase their labor costs by 25% without either raising prices or simply skipping town.
However, the other – more rational – side of me knows who this is really going to hurt.
When you are sitting in a comfortable home making more than the median wage it’s easy to decide that you would never work for a paltry $8/hour. You think that such a wage is a disgrace and no one should have to work for so little. What such a person doesn’t understand is that a job making $8/hour is much better than making no money at all.
More than a dozen church and community leaders ratcheted up the rhetoric Monday over a proposed city wage ordinance for big-box retail stores, saying the measure would hurt economically depressed areas.
The group, made up of leaders from predominantly African-American communities, said the measure would scare big retailers away from the city because it sets a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum.
"Why aren't we doing all we can to attract businesses?" said Dr. Leon Finney of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church. "Many of these jobs in retail are starter jobs.... I'm more interested in having a job than a living wage."
Even more than that, Chicago neighborhoods have little, if any, options for shopping. So not only are workers suffering, so are the hard-working families that are looking for someplace to buy clothes, electronics and other things that we suburbanites take for granted.