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Retail giant pushing for store inside Boston

Wal-Mart will have to get past Mayor Thomas Menino before it can build a superstore in Boston.

Wal-Mart will have to get past Mayor Thomas Menino before it can build a superstore in Boston.

The retail giant has already pitched several city councilors but it will be difficult to win Mayor Thomas Menino’s support.

“He’s gone on record saying he doesn’t want them here,” City Council President Steve Murphy said. “I was very candid with them. The big obstacle is the mayor; if he doesn’t want them, they’re not coming here.”

Chicago officials approved a second Wal-Mart store in their city last summer only after the retail giant allegedly conceded to paying higher wages.

“There are no deals,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said shortly after the vote. “All raises are based on performance.”

Chicago’s case study is now a rallying cry for local labor activists hoping they could successfully negotiate a deal if Wal-Mart scores its first Boston store.

“The goal is not per se to keep Wal-Mart out,” said Russ Davis of Massachusetts Jobs With Justice. “If Wal-Mart wants to do business here they should respect the communities’ standards.”

It’s unclear where Wal-Mart would build and Wal-Mart did not return a request seeking comment.

If Boston officials do play ball, Jennifer Stapleton of Making Change at Wal-Mart suggested they get any concessions made inked in a contract.

“Wal-Mart is incredibly persistent and they are incredibly desperate to get into urban markets,” she said. “Cities like Boston have leverage.”

 
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