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Wal-Mart union-busting [04 May 2005|04:00am]

I was under the impression that this kind of thing was illegal in the United States. I would expect it to be even more illegal in Canada.

NPR is reporting that Wal-Mart closed a store in northern Quebec after its workers voted to unionize. They claimed the store was not making any money. A Wal-Mart store not making any money?

This story provides a little more detail. I like this quote:

"We were hoping it wouldn't come to this," Andrew Pelletier, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Canada, said Wednesday. "Despite nine days of meetings over three months, we've been unable to reach an agreement with the union that in our view will allow the store to operate efficiently and profitably."

I work in a union shop. The management is friendly to the union as far as those things go---and it took over a year for our first contract to be negotiated and signed. The leadership of our union local tells us that we made pretty good time, that it almost always takes longer, especially if the management is at all antagonistic. Plus, we have only a few employees. Three months is a joke, as is nine days of meetings.

That story also shows just how far Wal-Mart will go to stop unionization in the US.

The closest a U.S. union has ever come to winning a battle with Bentonville, Ark.-based company occurred in 2000 at a store in Jacksonville, Texas, where 11 workers in the store's meatpacking department voted to join and be represented by the UFCW.

That effort failed when Wal-Mart eliminated the job of meatcutter companywide, and shifted from in-store meatcutting to stocking only pre-wrapped meat.

So, I'm going to support the Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart campaign this Mother's Day week. NPR has a story on it here.

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