News and Updates
December 16, 2010
MONTREAL, QUEBEC– The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) is declaring victory in an 18-month free speech battle with Walmart that concentrated on the labor rights website www.walmartworkerscanada.ca. In June 2009, the world’s largest retailer filed a motion with the Quebec Superior Court for an injunction against the popular and long-standing website maintained by UFCW Canada citing trade-mark infringement.
On Dec. 15 a confidential settlement was achieved that does not affect the continued existence of www.walmartworkerscanada.ca and its long-established commitment to communicating with Walmart workers in Canada about their rights.
“”This is a huge victory for Walmart workers and their ability to freely communicate on the internet,”” said UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley from the Superior Court house within moments of the settlement win for www.walmartworkerscanada.ca, which will continue to be dedicated to helping Walmart workers to empower themselves and improve their lives through collective bargaining.
“”Despite the best efforts of the world’s largest corporation to dictate the terms of online communication, www.walmartworkerscanada.ca will remain an excellent labor rights resource, and will proudly continue a seven year tradition of serving Walmart Associates as a place where they can learn about their rights, and how to exercise those rights as workers in Canada,”” added Hanley. “”Today’s victory also ensures that www.walmartworkerscanada.ca will remain a safe and familiar place for Walmart workers to freely share their experiences with other Associates across the country without any fear of reprisal.””
UFCW Canada has been leading the campaign to help Walmart Associates exercise their rights as workers in Canada for over a decade.
May 9, 2005
JONQUIERE, Quebec, Canada — Hundreds of Jonquiere region citizens gathered to show the true face of Wal- Mart by forming a giant mosaic that transformed Wal-Mart’s logo from a smile to a sneer.
The rally was just one of many gatherings and protest rallies held on May 6th at Wal-Mart locations across Quebec, one week after 200 Wal-Mart employees in Jonquiere were let go and their store shut just months after they became the only unionized Wal- Mart location in North America.
May 6th was the day Wal-Mart said they would shut the store. The actually shut it one week earlier on April 29th without notice to escape the attention of local citizens and the media.
A recent Polara survey showed that more than 80 percent of Canadians dismiss Wal-Mart’s claim the store was losing money. Most Canadians surveyed said Wal-Mart shut the store to frighten other Wal-Mart employees from unionizing.
In spite of Wal-Mart’s move, two other Quebec Wal-Mart locations have since been certified in Saint-Hyacinthe and in Gatineau, Applications to certify 12 other Wal-Mart locations across Canada are also pending.
PHOTO EDITORS: A high resolution, publication-ready photograph supporting this story is available for free editorial use at: http://www.wirepix.com/cgi-bin/newsphotos/download.cgi?image=USN050605cc.jpg
February 11, 2005
No one validates Wal-Mart criticism better than Wal-Mart itself. The retail giant announced plans to shutter its store in Jonquiere, Quebec rather than work with its employees and their certified representative, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
Joe Hansen, UFCW International President, announced a major grassroots mobilization targeting Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott that will reach out to workers and concerned community members to take action in support of Wal-Mart associates. The UFCW launched an electronic petition campaign to Wal-Mart calling on the retail giant to, abandon plans to close its Jonqueiere, Quebec, store, and to live up to the responsibilities that come with being the worlds largest corporation. Those responsibilities begin with respecting workers, consumers and communities.
Hansen said, “”Wal-Mart is choosing to destroy the livelihoods of nearly 200 working families rather than accept a compromise agreement with workers. It is clear from its actions in Jonquiere and in Jacksonville, Texas, that Wal-Mart will go to any length to avoid recognizing its workers organized voice on the job.””
Wal-Mart announced, yesterday, it was shutting down the store where workers had unionized six months earlier. Workers at the Jonquiere, Quebec store had been in negotiations with Wal-Mart the last several months, attempting to reach a fair agreement on wages and benefits. The company pulled the plug on the store when the workers appealed to the Quebec Labor Ministry to initiate a process that would establish a fair and impartial wage and benefit settlement.
Wal-Mart is no good for any community when it turns its back and runs away from its employees. The only way Wal-Mart will change its behavior toward workers and our communities is by people coming together and sending a unified message to the giant corporation. To get involved with the UFCW campaign and to sign on to the electronic petition, visit www.ufcw.org
August 4, 2004
QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC – A Wal-Mart located in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada is on its way to becoming the only unionized Wal-Mart in North America after a ruling on Monday by the Quebec Labour Relations Board (QLRC) to grant employees union certification with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Canada.
The union accreditation was issued by the QLRC after a majority of employees at the store signed UFCW Canada membership cards. QLRC adjudicator Jocelyne Houle stated that, “the applicant is representative, as required by law.” A hearing has been scheduled for August 20th to finalize the specific definition of which employees will have the right to union representation.
“The Quebec certification shows that when workers’ rights are protected, Wal-Mart workers will exercise those rights for a voice at work. Our challenge is to make sure that governments protect workers rights across Canada, the U.S. and around the world,” said Joseph Hansen, UFCW International President and President of the Union Network International, a global trade federation representing 16 million workers in 100 countries.
Today’s Labour Board victory is the latest in a series of organizing drives at Wal-Mart stores throughout Canada. Currently UFCW Canada has other applications pending for Wal-Mart stores in Weyburn and North Battleford, Saskatchewan; in Terrace, British Columbia, in Thompson, Manitoba; and in Brossard, Quebec where a majority of workers have sought UFCW representation.
The Quebec store will be the first wall-to-wall Wal-Mart store where workers successfully chose union representation. Meat department workers in the Jacksonville, Texas, Wal-Mart Supercenter voted for UFCW representation in 2000. Wal-Mart refused to bargain with the workers, despite orders from the National Labor Relations Board. It also eliminated the meat department in Jacksonville and across the country in an attempt to scare workers from standing up for a voice on the job.
Wal-Mart stated publicly that it supports workplace democracy and that it would not close the store because workers chose a union. The UFCW Canada looks forward to sitting down to negotiating a first contract without delay.