Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Union Push Back on Intro 665

In today's Crain's Insider, the newsletter reports on the union opposition to Intro 665. As UFCW Local 1500 rep Pat Purcell told Crain's: “It is blatantly unfair that these vendors are able to set up shop directly across the doorway from our employers,” says UFCW’s Pat Purcell. “We’d hope that in this legislation we can resolve this issue before another 1,500 carts hit the streets.”

Apparently, Speaker Quinn doesn't see this as a zero-sun game: "Quinn’s spokesman says the
bill “will create healthy food options for undeserved communities, not competition between vendors and supermarkets.” Really? How does the speaker know this? Has the council or the mayor done any economic impact analysis?

Of course not, and as we've observed, there's nothing in the bill that prevents vendors from setting up shop right in front of produce stores and supermarkets-after all, that's where the pedestrian traffic is. And if they do, isn't this creating unfair competition with stores whose greater overhead costs can't compete with peddlers paying $50 a year! for a license?

As someone once said, every one's entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own set of facts. As we told Crain's: "Lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who advocates for small stores, claims that the very premise of the bill is misguided. He says that where demand exists, stores already
sell fresh produce, and that allowing more vendors won’t create demand." This bill, as currently written, is simply not in the public interest.