Wal-Mart hasn’t confirmed it will open a store in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn, in a space at the planned Gateway II shopping center. But despite labor unions twice blocking the retailer’s attempts to open in Staten Island and Queens, the City Council has already approved the retailer’s Brooklyn plans. So Wal-Mart can forge ahead as soon as they sign a lease, which a Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirms they haven’t done. As it goes with Wal-Mart, controversy is brewing. Labor unions and local politicians have pledged to fight Wal-Mart’s descent on the neighborhood. But some residents, who drive out of their way to shop at suburban Wal-Marts, want Wal-Mart.
“People are very happy about it,” said Marie Purnell, former president of the Spring Creek Towers Tenants Association, which is across the street from the Walmart. “It was all the talk at last night’s Democratic Club meeting.”
Councilman Charles Barron has pledged a passionate fight against the retailer’s purported Brooklyn plans, noting, “No one exploits workers more than Wal-Mart. To exploit workers the way they do is unconscionable.” Again, residents seem unfazed.
“A few people mentioned that there would be a possibility of jobs here if Walmart came. The fact that they are non-union didn’t even come into the conversation,” said Purnell. “People are desperate for jobs and what is not now on their top priority list is whether something is union or not.”
The Brooklyn Paper has dubbed the battle “Warmart,” which sounds like an armpit fungus, but okay.
Brooklynites gear up for ‘Warmart’ [Brooklyn Paper]
Walmart Divides Shoppers and Workers in Brooklyn [Racked NY]