Chicago Mayor Vetoes "Big Box" Wage Ordinance

September 11, 2006 ( - Chicago Mayor Richard Daley vetoed an ordinance that would have mandated a minimum amount for the city's largest retailers to pay workers in wages and benefits.

The Associated Press reports that, in a letter to City Council members, Mayor Daley wrote, “I understand and share a desire to ensure that everyone who works in the city of Chicago earns a decent wage. But I do not believe that this ordinance, well intentioned as it may be, would achieve that end.” Daley said the ordinance would keep businesses out of the city.

The ordinance would have required retailers that have stores that are at least 90,000 square feet and generate $1 billion in annual sales to pay workers a minimum wage of $10 an hour and $3 an hour in benefits by 2010 (See Chicago Council OKs ‘Big Box’ Wage, Benefit Bill ). The mandate passed by the City Council in July would have affected 19 retailers including Target, Sears, Home Depot and Bloomingdale’s.

Wal-Mart had said it would focus on stores in the suburbs rather than inside city limits if the ordinance passed. The president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association had warned the group would file a lawsuit if the mayor did not veto the mandate.

It takes 34 votes to override a mayoral veto, according to the AP.