No Store, No Union

Oct 15, 2004

By George Anderson

What good is a labor union to workers if the store they work in closes?

That is the not so subtle question a Wal-Mart spokesperson put to employees at the retailer’s store in Jonquière, Que. earlier this week while speaking with the Toronto Globe and Mail. The Jonquière store is the only unionized Wal-Mart store in all of North America.

Wal-Mart spokesperson, Andrew Pelletier, told the paper, “If we are not able to reach a collective agreement that is reasonable and that allows the store to function efficiently, and ultimately profitably, it is possible that the store will close.”

According to Wal-Mart, the store in Jonquière has never made money and its performance has deteriorated in recent months.

Should the store shut its doors, it would be the first Wal-Mart in Canada to close due to poor performance. The retailer has 234 stores operating in the country.

Richard Chaykowski, professor of industrial relations at Queen’s University’s School of Policies Studies said, “It seems to be an amazing coincidence that all of a sudden they’re saying this operation isn’t profitable.”

Moderator’s Comments:What is your reaction to Wal-Mart’s suggestion it might have to close the only unionized store it has operating in North America?

So much for Wal-Mart softening its public image.
George Anderson – Moderator

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