Quebec the latest battleground<br>in Wal-Mart unionization war

UFCW files application for certification of store in Jonquiere

Fresh off a failed attempt to unionize a Manitoba Wal-Mart store, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has turned its attention to Quebec in its next battle with the retail gaint.

In December, UFCW Local 503 filed an application for certification with the Commission des relations de travail du Quebec (the Quebec Labour Relations Commission) to represent the employees at a Wal-Mart store in Jonquiere, Que. Jonquiere is located about 200 kilometres north of Quebec City.

This is the first unionization drive at a Quebec Wal-Mart.

“We are very proud of the determination of the Wal-Mart workers in Jonquiere,” said Marie-Josée Lemieux, president of UFCW Local 503. “We thank the employees of Wal-Mart who worked courageously to convince their co-workers to get a union so they could have the respect and working conditions they deserve.”

Michael J. Fraser, the union’s national director, said he is cautiously optimistic about the drive.

“It’s good news,” said Fraser. “Now we’ll wait and see what happens at the labour commission, knowing that Wal-Mart will challenge the application in any way they can.”

In June 2003, workers at a Wal-Mart in Thompson, Man., rejected a unionization bid in a 61-54 vote.

There has only been one successful union drive involving Wal-Mart employees, but it was short lived. In February 2000, meat cutters at a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville, Tex., voted to join a union. But soon after the vote, that Wal-Mart store stopped carrying freshly cut meat and the meat department was closed.

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