Quebec Wal-Mart bargaining unit is decertified

Workers leave union after one year in the collective agreement

About 150 Wal-Mart employees in Gatineau, Que. have successfully decertified from their union after just one year with their first collective agreement.

The workers first joined the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in 2008. After two years of unproductive negotiations, an arbitrator imposed a collective agreement between the two parties in 2010.

“Wal-Mart respects the decision of our Hull associates,” said Andrew Pelletier, Wal-Mart vice-president of corporate affairs and sustainability told CBC News. “They have made their views clear in this matter.”

The details behind the members’ wish to decertify are currently unknown as the ruling has not been released and the UFCW has yet to comment on it.

The Gatineau collective agreement was only the second to be implemented at Wal-Mart stores in North America. The first store to have a collective agreement was a Wal-Mart in St-Hyacinthe, Que. Workers there voted to decertify in March 2011 after the union spent years in court trying to achieve an agreement.

The UFCW has been battling Wal-Mart for years in an attempt to organize the corporation’s Canadian workers. In fact, international headlines were made in 2005 when the company shut down its newly unionized store in Jonquière, Que. before a collective agreement could be imposed. Wal-Mart defended the decision saying the store wasn’t profitable.

A store in Weyburn, Sask. is now the only North American Wal-Mart to remain unionized.

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