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Quebec Labour Board Rules Wal-Mart Closed Store to Avoid Union Recognition

Posted to the IUF website 19-Sep-2005

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In April this year, Wal-Mart Canada closed a store in Jonqui�re, Quebec (background) six months after a majority of workers successfully won the right to join UFCW Local 503 and negotiate a first collective bargaining agreement. The closure confirmed a pattern of store closings by Wal-Mart designed to thwart union recognition. The UFCW denounced the closure as a political rather than financial move, and that judgement has now been upheld by the Quebec Labour Board. The Board ruled on September 16 that Wal-Mart closed shop as a retaliatory move against union members and supporters, and ordered the company to pay compensation to the 79 former workers at the store who filed claims.

The Labour Board ruled that Wal-Mart failed to demonstrate that its Jonqui�re closure was "real, genuine and definitive", a decision which closely parallels the closure of the Riviera Hotel in Korea last year. The Riviera workers' year-long struggle to reopen the hotel recently received a boost from the National Labour Relations Commission of Korea, which confirmed an earlier provincial-level ruling that the hotel's closure was fraudulent and the mass dismissal of union workers illegal. The IUF and its Korean hotel affiliate are campaigning for international pressure on the government of Korea to implement this ruling and facilitate the reopening of the closed hotel with the reinstatement of all dismissed union members.

Elsewhere in Canada, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board last week certified UFCW Canada Local 1518 as the bargaining representative of workers at a Wal-Mart unit in the city of Cranbrook, a majority of whose workers had voted for union representation.