By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — As rumors continued to swirl about Walmart moving to the Big Apple, the City Council has scheduled a hearing for next month to debate the merits of bringing the retailer to New York, according to the council’s website.
The event, titled "When Wal-Mart Comes to Town: The Effect on Small Businesses and Communities: A Historical and Prospective View," is a joint hearing by the Committee on Small Business and committees on community and economic development.
"We're excited to have this hearing and get all the information out in the open so it can be debated," Bennett Baruch, deputy chief of staff to Councilwoman Diana Reyna, told Crain’s New York Monday. Reyna chairs the Small Business Committee.
The Big Box retailer, which is the country's largest private employer, has tried several times to break into the New York market — most recently in 2005.
Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said earlier this month that the company is once again looking at the possibility of opening a New York City store. Restivo would not confirm, though, whether they are looking at locations in Manhattan.
Public support for the store entering the city seems uncertain at best.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined a labor protest against the retailer last June, the Daily News reported.
"You know, it isn’t that we don’t want Walmart," Quinn said at the rally, according to the News. "It’s that we don’t want companies that have led the nation in law suits being brought against them by workers. We don’t want companies that have the largest class-action in history brought against them. We don’t want companies where women are, over and over, paid less than men and not promoted. You can be very clear that I don’t want that."
The hearing will take place Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. in City Hall.