When Wal-Mart Says No, It Means No

Feb 10, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Wal-Mart’s decision to close the first company store in Canada to get union representation shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. The company said in October that closing was a possibility if it was unable to reach an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

Yesterday, Wal-Mart Canada spokesperson Andrew Pelletier said, “We were hoping it wouldn’t come to this. Despite nine days of meetings over three months, we’ve been unable to reach an agreement with the union that in our view will allow the store to operate efficiently and profitably.”

According to published reports and other sources, Wal-Mart and the union were stuck on a number of points, including adding 30 employees to the store payroll, guaranteeing more hours for associates and status questions affecting pay and benefits. The retailer has also complained that the union failed to present it with its wage demands.

The UFCW said it would appeal to the Quebec Labour Relations Board with the union’s national director, Michael Fraser, telling The Globe and Mail that Wal-Mart’s decision to close the store was “clearly a violation of the workers’ right to join a union.”

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Wal-Mart’s decision to close its Jonquière, Que store? Will this decision help or hinder the UFCW’s
efforts to organize Wal-Mart’s employees?

Based on a piece on The Globe and Mail Web site, there may not be anything the provincial or other government office can do to reverse Wal-Mart’s
decision to close the store in Jonquière.

Josée Delisle, a spokesperson for the Quebec Labour Ministry, “In terms of the labour code, there is no recourse the minister can take regarding
a decision by a company to close. It’s an unfortunate situation for the [local] population and the workers.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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1 Comment on "When Wal-Mart Says No, It Means No"

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Robert Baxendell
Robert Baxendell
16 years 20 days ago

Too bad for those mistaken, mislead “former” employees who fell for the line given by the union organizers. The UFCW is a dying entity that is struggling to recruit new members from any industry it can just to remain intact. What started out as a merger between the butchers and the retail clerks has now just become a bunch of PAC driven nomads who are living in the past. Bravo Wal-Mart!


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