Wal-Mart opening supercenter on Chicago's South Side following eight-year political battle over wages; deal with labor unions calls for Wal-Mart to pay its Chicago employees at least US$8.75 per hour, US$0.50 above state's minimum wage

CHICAGO , January 25, 2012 () – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is opening its second supercenter in Chicago.

The store in the Chatham neighborhood on the city's South Side was long-delayed by a political fight that pitted the world's largest retailer against labor unions demanding Wal-Mart pay a livable wage.

Company spokesman Steven Restivo says an eight-year political battle was worth it because residents of the area will have access to jobs and fresh, affordable food.

Approval of the Wal-Mart came after labor unions and the retailer reached a deal that calls for the retailer to pay Chicago employees at least $8.75 an hour, which is 50 cents above Illinois' minimum wage.

The 157,000-square-foot store, which opens Wednesday, will employ 350 workers, most will hold full-time positions.

Wal-Mart has announced plans to open several dozen stores in Chicago by 2015.

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