Monday, October 14, 2019

Big corps not "fleeing" IL over $15/hr minimum wage after all.

Crain's begs Amazon: "Come to Chicago. We have plenty of low-paid workers here."
Last year we defeated the Rahm/Rahner plan to bring Amazon HQ2 into Chicago. Why? Because they are among the worst low-road, abusive, union-busting companies with the poorest working conditions of any corporation. Plus, we knew that their promise of 50,000 new jobs was BS. Plus, despite raking in superprofits, they would have ended up paying no state or city taxes to help support our schools and city services. Preckwinkle and Daley were the only mayoral candidates who supported Rahm's plan.

Good riddance, right?

Chicago being a strong union town, along with our push for a living wage, then led to a fear campaign in the media by Rahm/Rahner claiming that other companies would now flee the state and the city if we made them pay fair taxes and a living wage to their workers.

Fast forward --  With Rauner and Rahm gone, Gov. Pritzker signed a bill in February, passed in the IL Legislature, that would raise the state's minimum wage to $15/hr. Not a living wage, but good news just the same.

The bad news is that under the new law, minimum-wage workers won't see $15/hr under for six years. Why such a compromise with Republicans in a Democratic-dominated legislature? You'd have to ask the progressive house members who crafted the bill.

But now comes the news that since the passage of the bill, corporations are coming back to IL rather than running away. In fact last week, Amazon announced plans to open a fulfillment center in Channahon, Illinois, supposedly creating more than 500 new, full-time jobs. The project, developed by Venture One Real Estate, will add a new distribution center of over 1 million square feet in size—the sixth in Will County for the online retailer, after properties in Crest Hill, Joliet, Monee and Romeoville.
“Illinois is a great place to do business and we are excited to continue our growth and investment in the state with our new fulfillment center in Channahon,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. “Since 2010, Amazon has invested more than $4 billion in the state through its local fulfillment center and cloud infrastructure, research facilities and compensation to thousands of employees in the state. We are excited to create more than 500 new full-time jobs, in addition to the 11,000 current employees across the state, who receive industry-leading pay and benefits starting on day one.”
And this from Gov. Pritzker:
“This significant jobs announcement is another sign that Illinois’ future is bright, and I’m excited to see Amazon build on its investment in Illinois with 500 new jobs in the south suburbs,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker. “Illinois is the transportation hub of the Midwest, and our workforce is among the best in the world."
I guess the big corps like Amazon aren't scared off by Pritzker's Fair Tax initiative. I didn't think they would be, even with Indiana and Wisconsin right next door.

And the great irony is that starting salary at the new center will be (you guessed it) $15/hr. Six years before the new law takes full effect and with no union representation for workers.

This should also bring some organizing-the-unorganized jobs for union organizers.

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