Union Busting in the Wal-Mart Age
by Chris Bowers, Thu Feb 10, 2005 at 06:10:16 AM EST
Wal-Mart said it was shuttering the store in Jonquiere, Quebec, in response to unreasonable demands from union negotiators, which would make it impossible for the store to sustain its business. The United Food & Commercial Workers Canada last week asked Quebec labor officials to appoint a mediator, saying that negotiations had reached an impasse. (...)
The store in Jonquiere, about 240 miles northeast of Montreal, became the first unionized Wal-Mart store in North America last September after the bargaining unit was certified by provincial labor officials. Since then, workers at a second Quebec store have also been granted union status. Neither had reached a contract.
The union efforts at both stores are part of a larger chess game labor organizers are waging with Wal-Mart at stores across Canada. The campaign, financed by UFCW money from both Canada and the United States, is also geared to captured the attention of workers in Wal-Mart's home country.
The closest a U.S. union has ever come to winning a battle with Wal-Mart was in 2000, at a store in Jacksonville, Texas. In that store, 11 workers -- all members of the store's meatpacking department -- voted to join and be represented by the UFCW.
That effort failed when Wal-Mart eliminated the job of meatcutter companywide, and moved away from in-store meatcutting to stocking only prewrapped meat.That Wal-Mart was willing to close a store rather than see it unionize does not surprise me. I am actually a little more shocked that they would eliminate the job of meat cutter worldwide to prevent eleven people from unionizing. Either way, it shows just how serious they are about busting unions.
It will be interesting to see what happens at the other store in Canada now. Also, if for some reason you were still hopping at Wal-Mart, hopefully this story will keep you from doing so in the future. For more inofrmation and resources on Wal-Mart, check out purple ocean both here and here.