Saturday, December 20, 2008

The last few days have brought news of yet more Wal-Mart stores being unionized across the country. Seems that the Kingdom of Cheap is being forced to give a few Christmas presents early this year. First of all, from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union(UFCW) the story of how 150 workers in Hull, Québec have won their legal battle for representation.
Another Wal-Mart unionized in Quebec:
After three-and-a-half years of legal wrangling, over 150 Wal-Mart workers in Hull, Que., have become the latest Canadian “associates” to join the union.
Over 150 Wal-Mart workers in Hull, Que., have become the ninth group of Canadian "associates" to join the country's largest private-sector union after a Dec. 17 decision by the Quebec Labour Board awarded bargaining rights for the Hull location to the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada).

"After nine times, the message coming from Wal-Mart workers in Canada to Wal-Mart executives in Bentonville, Arkansas, couldn't be louder or clearer: Canadian Wal-Mart workers want to be union members," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley.

"Hopefully, this decision will help Wal-Mart to understand that Canada is a place where labour rights are human rights, and where people take their rights very seriously. Hopefully, Wal-Mart won't squander another chance to prove its critics wrong, and it will take this opportunity to show the world that it believes in human rights by sitting down with these Hull workers to negotiate a contract in good faith," said Hanley, making reference to Wal-Mart's past practice of closing stores or departments shortly after becoming unionized.

The Dec. 17 decision affects the Hull main store, and comes three-and-a-half years after the union originally made an application for certification. The store's adjoining Tire & Lube Express was certified as a separate bargaining unit in 2005. The labour relations process for the main store was drawn-out by several legal challenges put forward by the company.

According to Louis Bolduc, executive assistant to the UFCW Canada National President, negotiations for the two Hull Wal-Mart units will commence as soon as possible, but bargaining dates have yet to be scheduled.

UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union with over 250,000 members coast to coast.
/For further information: Guy Chenier, President UFCW Canada Local 486 (819) 777 – 8822 /
For more information, please contact

Derek Johnstone, UFCW Canada National Communications Dept., UFCW CANADA

Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 222

Secondary Phone: 416-720-8858
Well, that`s down east, across the river from the seat of power of Canada`s High Priest of Hell (Hell-Hull, get it ) Sneaky Stevie Harper. Meanwhile out here in the west, which the first European explorers said was territory unfit for settlement (you can believe it when the windchill goes to -45), those busy little beavers of the UFCW have unionized the Wal-Mart in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Here's that story, from the Market Wire, via the UFCW. Eventually, if this trend holds, Wal-Mart's tactic of closing down stores will be ineffective as they will take too large a hit to their profits by having to close too many outlets.
Wal-Mart in Weyburn certified as UFCW Canada unionized store:
"Weyburn is yet another example of Wal-Mart workers in Canada coming together and demanding their rights to bargain collectively," says UFCW Canada National President Hanley.
A Wal-Mart store in Weyburn, Saskatchewan has been granted union certification by the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) after years of Wal-Mart legal wrangling and delays, including two Wal-Mart applications to the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the process.

"Justice has finally arrived for these Weyburn workers, in spite of Wal-Mart's endless attempts to thwart the workers from exercising their constitutional right to have a union," says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada.

"The time has come for Wal-Mart to end the stalling tactics and begin respecting worker rights and Canadian law. They are not above it."

The written decision delivered by the SLRB on Monday, comes almost five years after UFCW Canada Local 1400 applied to the SLRB to represent workers at the store, located about 115 kilometers southeast of Regina.

Determination hearings into the application began in April 2004 after a majority of the workers at the Weyburn Wal-Mart indicated their support to form a union.

Those hearings dragged on for 19 months as a series of Wal-Mart legal challenges interrupted the proceedings, including a Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to stop the process. The court declined to hear the case.

The labour board hearings finally concluded in December 2005, but before the SLRB could render a decision Wal-Mart again filed to go to the Supreme Court - this time challenging the authority of the SLRB to rule on the application. Again the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. That was in April 2007.

A change in the makeup of the SLRB caused further delay, but finally this week the original board members who heard the case ruled in favour of the application.

"I want to welcome our newest members and congratulate the workers for standing up to Wal-Mart and fighting for their rights," said Paul Meinema, President of UFCW Canada Local 1400. "This has been a long-time coming and it is a victory for them and for all Wal-Mart workers."

Applications for two other Saskatchewan Wal-Mart locations are also before the SLRB. UFCW Canada also represents Wal-Mart workers at three locations in Quebec where the process leading to first contracts is underway. In Saskatchewan, UFCW Canada Local 1400 is in the process of contacting Wal-Mart to also commence first-contract bargaining for the Weyburn store.

"Weyburn is yet another example of Wal-Mart workers in Canada coming together and demanding their rights to bargain collectively," says National President Hanley. "It's high time for Wal-Mart to start respecting Canadian traditions and the Charter rights of its workers, and to get to the table without further delay to bargain a first contract in good faith."

UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union with over 250,000 members coast to coast.

/For further information: Paul Meinema, President UFCW Canada Local 1400
(306) 384-5787
But we shouldn't forget our fellow workers down USA way. Some may think that Molly hardly ever turns her face southward, except to spit, but the struggle is the same as there. Remember the tragic case of the Wal-Mart employee trampled to death in a "shopping stampede" on the Friday after American Thanksgiving ? What a coda to the decline of the American Empire. The family of the poor man is sueing Wal-Mart. The Wake-Up Wal-Mart organization is raising funds for the family to carry their legal battle forward. The following is that story and how you can help. By the way, another useful site in the battle to hold the world's largest retailer responsible for all the harm it does is Wal-Mart Watch.
They Lost a Son, Help Give Them Justice‏:

The tragic story of Jdimytai Damour, a Wal-Mart worker originally from Jamaica, will stay with you forever.

It has been all over the news. Damour was trampled to death while shielding a pregnant shopper from a Black Friday stampede at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, NY. When we heard the news about Jdimytai, we were utterly shocked. Even today, we can't believe Wal-Mart let this happen.

At Jdimytai's Wal-Mart, lack of preparation and aggressive marketing turned Black Friday into a crowd-control nightmare. Early that morning, a throng of 2,000 shoppers swarmed at the store's front entrance. They grew agitated. Though Jdimytai Damour was given no crowd control training, though he had no security experience whatsoever, management put him in front of the surging crowd of shoppers just before the doors opened. Not long after, he was pronounced dead.

The Damour family lost a son. We could never hope to fill that void in their lives, but we can help them fight for justice in the courts and for change at Wal-Mart. We are dedicating this year's Holiday Worker Fund to the Damour family's legal expenses, but it's still not enough. YOU can change that.

Several people were injured in that early morning crush, but none fared worse than Jdimytai. Now, the only support for the Damours will come from family and activists like you. They are relying on us.

Donating helps, but it isn't everything. The Damour family also needs your moral support. You can use our website to send the Damours some words of encouragement and consolation. It will take only a few seconds (longer if you like) to help Jdimytai's family take heart in the coming New Year.

The tragedy in Valley Stream demands change. Show your support for the Damour family and let Wal-Mart know America won't stand for irresponsible retailing.

It's time for Wal-Mart to put safety before sales.

Thank you for all that you do, and happy holidays and a safe New Year to you and your loved ones.
The Team,

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