Target Threatens to Close Chicago Stores If Wage Proposal Passes

CHICAGO -- Target Stores is threatening to close all of its stores here if City Council passes a proposed new minimum wage ordinance.

If passed, the ordinance could jeopardize plans for three new Target stores and it could cause the Minneapolis-based company to close its existing stores in the city, according to local published reports.

The ordinance, which could force big box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart to pay employees at least $10 an hour plus $3 an hour for benefits, is expected to be voted on at a July 26 City Council meeting. It would apply to stores with at least 90,000-square-feet and annual sales of $1 billion across all operations.

If passed, a minimum wage of $9.25 an hour plus $1.50 an hour in benefits would take effect on July 1, 2007, with increases every year until 2010. A $10 wage and $3 benefit minimum would become effective then, after which annual cost-of-living increases would apply.

Despite opposition from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, support for the big-box ordinance appears to remain strong in the council, whose supporters contend that urban markets have become so attractive to big retailers that the measure's provisions would not prevent them from opening stores in the city.
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