Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board can rule on Wal-Mart union drive: Supreme Court

Retailer challenged board’s legitimacy to rule on certification application for Weyburn store

After three years of legal wrangling, the Supreme Court of Canada has allowed the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to proceed with a ruling on a union certification application by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) for a Wal-Mart store in Weyburn, Sask.

The union originally filed the application in April 2004. Wal-Mart proceeded with a series of legal challenges attempting to disqualify the board from ruling on any certification application dealing with Wal-Mart, claiming the board didn’t have the authority to rule on such an issue involving the company. The most recent motion was an application for a leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in January 2007, which followed an earlier application the court dismissed in April 2005.

The court dismissed Wal-Mart’s latest application and ordered the company to pay the union’s legal costs.

Wayne Hanley, the national president of the UFCW representing more than 240,000 workers across Canada, said he hoped this would finally spell the end of what he called Wal-Mart’s stalling tactics and allow the board to make a decision on the Weyburn store’s certification application as soon as possible.

Workers at two other Wal-Mart stores, both in Quebec, are already members of the union. The locations in Moose Jaw, Sask., and North Battleford, Sask., have filed certification application with the board.

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