Want a union? You’re fired!
Wal-Mart ruthlessly proved once again that the only rules it
respects are its own when, on October 15, without warning,
it closed the unionized Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express (TLE)
outlet in Gatineau, Quebec.
“It is yet another attack on its workers, on the community,
and one more example of Wal-Mart’s blatant disregard
for Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” says UFCW
Canada National President Wayne Hanley. “Wal-Mart thinks
a cheap oil change is more important than the Canadian
It was the second UFCW Canada union-busting closure
by Wal-Mart in Quebec. In April 2005, Wal-Mart turfed
more than 200 members of UFCW Canada Local 503 when
it shut their store in Jonquière just before binding arbitration
for a first contract was to begin. The Supreme Court of
Canada agreed last August that it will hear charges that the
Jonquière closure violated the workers’ rights to organize for
collective bargaining as guaranteed under the Charter.
In Gatineau, near the nation’s capital, the UFCW
Canada Local 486 bargaining unit had been certified in
2005. After years of legal roadblocks by Wal-Mart, a first
contract won through binding arbitration finally came into
force in August 2008. The contract reflected the going rates
for similar service centres across the province. Just eight
weeks later, Wal-Mart locked the doors, claiming the cost of
the new contract didn’t fit with its business plans.
Quebec’s minister of labour (David Whissell, Lib.,
Argenteuil) has announced his ministry’s investigation of
the Gatineau closure. Meanwhile, binding arbitration for the
Wal-Mart TLE and main store in St-Hyacinthe, Que. is
in its final phase. First contracts for those locations are expected
by early next year.
Canada, and we believe this design achieves that,” says
Nancy Quiring, western provinces director and chair of the
committee. “Women make up more than half of our union’s
membership, and we are proud to put our stamp on anything
that addresses our concerns.”
The new logo will make its debut on a poster to be
published to commemorate the December 6 National Day
of Mourning and Action on Violence Against Women. That
poster, designed by the union’s National Communications
Department at the committee’s request, was also given the
go-ahead at the meeting. It will be mailed to local unions in
November and available for download from www.ufcw.ca.
The committee also reviewed dozens of workshop
proposals for programs – eventually narrowed down to 10
priority items – that can be developed for presentation at
anything from a national conference audience to delivery at
the local union or workplace level, and, in instances of nonlabour
topics, offered to women in the community. Potential
topics, some of which borrow from workshops already
developed by local unions or the CLC, include general policy
review on the one hand – such as Women Organizing Women
and Sister 2 Sister – to areas of practical help, such as Auto
Maintenance for Women, Assertiveness Training, Relaxation,
and Women & Finances.
Also proposed were various ways of taking advantage of
UFCW Canada’s online presence with fact sheets and other
women’s issues pages made available on www.ufcw.ca.
“Our Women’s Advisory Committee has obviously started
out with an ambitious and very full agenda,” says UFCW
Canada National President Wayne Hanley. “Moving forward,
this take-action approach will certainly benefit women who
are members of our great union.”