Saskatchewan judge critical of labour board in Wal-Mart unionization drive

Court says board too union-friendly, opens the door for retail giant to use Charter of Rights and Freedoms to strike down labour laws that restrict communications with employees during unionization drives
||Last Updated: 03/29/2005

A Saskatchewan judge said Wal-Mart’s constitutional challenge of a provincial law restricting a company’s ability to communicate with its employees during a union drive “has considerable merit” and he suggested it could be brought before the courts once a labour board hearing into a union certification attempt at a store in Weyburn, Sask., is over.

While not ruling on the constitutional challenge, Justice George Baynton of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench appeared to clear the way for the retailer to use the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the near future to argue labour laws that restrict a company’s right to talk with employees about unionization are unconstitutional.

Justice Baynton made the remarks while ruling on whether Wal-Mart has to hand over information requested by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) at the labour board hearing, Justice George Baynton rejected a move by the union to force Wal-Mart to release company information the retailer said has nothing to do with the union certification drive. UFCW and Wal-Mart are currently battling it out before the Saskatchewan Labour Board, and the ruling is a small victory for Wal-Mart in that battle.