Wal-Mart unionization drive fails

Workers at Quebec store latest to reject attempts to organize

The latest attempt to unionize a Wal-Mart store has failed.

Workers in Jonquière, Que. rejected a bid by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to unionize in a vote on Friday night. A total of 139 of 144 eligible workers voted.

In a statement, 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.

But the union isn’t ready to give up quite yet. Marie-Josée Lemieux, of UFCW, said the company won by a “weak” majority and that the union would mount another organizing drive in Jonquière in a couple of months.

“There is definitely a growing desire to form a union,” she told the Montreal Gazette. She called the vote a deferral, not a rejection, of unionization.

It’s the second attempt in less than a year to unionize a Canadian Wal-Mart store. On June 27, 2003, Wal-Mart employees in Thompson, Man. voted against being represented by UFCW.

Michael Fraser, the union’s national director, said there are active campaigns underway to unionize employees at Wal-Mart stores in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

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