Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wal-Mart Canada to close auto shop in Quebec where workers formed union

Very predictably, Walmart has announced the closing of their automobile centre in Gatineau Quebec a few months after the employes voted to form a union. This is the second time in Quebec that the giant corporation has flexed its muscle to avoid the spread of unionism amongst its employees. People really need to think long and hard about whether they need to save a few dollars at the expense of workers' rights to a living wage.

October 16, 2008
The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Wal-Mart Canada is closing an automobile centre in Gatineau, Que., where employees had formed a union and recently secured their first collective agreement.
The retailer said today it closed the shop because it couldn’t accept salary increases for the store’s five mechanics. Wal-Mart said the higher wages would force it to increase prices by 30 per cent.
The unionized workers and the Tire and Lube Express centre manager won’t necessarily lose their jobs because they can be transferred to another department at the store or to another of Wal-Mart’s auto centres.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union president called Wal-Mart’s decision an attack on its workers and a “blatant disregard” for Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Wal-Mart thinks a cheap oil change is more important than the Canadian Constitution,” Wayne Hanley said in a news release.
The closure marks the second time Wal-Mart has closed a Quebec outlet after workers decided to form a union.
In April 2005, the retailer closed an entire store in Saguenay affecting more than 200 workers just as binding arbitration for a first contract was set to begin. The retailers said the store wasn’t profitable.
The Supreme Court of Canada agreed in August to hear appeals from a number of workers who lost their jobs.

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