Union launches two-pronged attack on Wal-Mart

UFCW applies for certification at two Wal-Mart locations in Saskatchewan

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has launched a two-pronged attack against Wal-Mart in Saskatchewan.

UFCW has applied for certification at a Wal-Mart in Weyburn, Sask., after a majority of the employees at the store signed membership cards with the union.

An application was filed earlier this week by UFCW Canada Local 1400 with the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board, the second UFCW application in as many months. In late March, UFCW Local 1400 applied to the board to certify a Wal-Mart store in North Battleford, Sask.

In the North Battleford efforts, the labour relations board has ordered Wal-Mart to provide the board and the union with payroll records and other related employee information, according to UFCW.

Michael Fraser, UFCW Canada’s national director, said the campaign to unionize a Wal-Mart store is beginning to pay off.

“Our momentum is building,” said Fraser. “Every day, more and more Wal-Mart workers are contacting us to come on board in Saskatchewan and Quebec and other locations in Canada. So the pressure is growing and it’s not only the workers that are organizing. Communities are getting fed up with Wal-Mart’s bully tactics.”

He said the recent refusal by residents in Inglewood, Calif. to let Wal-Mart build a megastore in their community is an example of how negative the company is perceived, and said a big factor behind that negativity is the company’s labour practices.

The UFCW recently failed at attempts to unionize Wal-Mart staff at locations in Quebec and Manitoba.

In a statement put out after workers rejected unionization in Jonquiere, Que., Wal-Mart said it is commited to being a great employer and pointed out that it was named the best retail employer in Canada by Hewitt Associates and it also made the list of the top 50 employers in Canada.

"Despite the union's lengthy and aggressive campaign, Wal-Mart associates have chosen — once again — to deal directly with their company instead of opting for third-party representation," the statement read.

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