The AP reports that Chicago has become “the biggest city in the nation to require all employers big-box retailers to pay a ‘living wage.'” More on the ordinance, which passed 35-14:

The measure requires mega-retailers with more than $1 billion in annual sales and stores of at least 90,000 square feet to pay workers at least $10 an hour in wages plus $3 in fringe benefits by mid-2010. … Mayor Richard M. Daley and others warned the living wage proposal would drive jobs and desperately needed development from some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods and lead giants like Wal-Mart to abandon the city.

“This (ordinance) imposes special interest mandates that will unfairly deny savings and job opportunities to those who need them most,” Michael Lewis, Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of store operations, said in a statement. “It’s wrong for the City Council to tell the people of Chicago where to shop and to make it harder for inner-city residents to find jobs.”

Wal-Mart spokesman John Bisio said earlier that if the measure passed, “We’d redirect our focus on our suburban strategy and see how we could better serve our city of Chicago residents from suburban Chicagoland.”

Some aldermen also warned that Target Corp. might rethink its presence in the city ? though the Minneapolis-based company has not discussed the issue.