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CHICAGO-Mayor Richard Daley’s administration is concerned about lawsuits the city may face if it enacts an ordinance that would require large, “big box” stores, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, to pay workers a minimum wage. Chicago’s City Council voted on July 26 to approve the law, which would force companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue and stores of 90,000 square feet or more to pay workers $10 an hour by July 2010 and $3 an hour in benefits. Daley, who opposes the proposal because it might hamper business development and job creation, could veto it. His law department told some council members that the city could be sued for overstepping its authority. “The most viable challenge to be brought against the proposed ordinance and the one which causes the greatest concern is the argument that the city, in enacting the ordinance, violates its home rule authority,” Mara Georges, Chicago’s corporation counsel, told council members in a July 25 letter. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which said the ordinance would impact about 40 stores and discourage the construction of new ones, will file a lawsuit if the ordinance is enacted, said David Vite, association president.

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