Target and Walmart show the “same disregard” for Quebec and its workers, says Canada’s leading retail union

MONTREAL – The leading retail workers’ union in Quebec, and all across Canada, is taking Walmart to task for reneging on an important promise it repeatedly made to Zellers workers at Les Galeries Quatre Saisons in Sherbrooke, QC.

As reported in La Tribune on July 24, Walmart made repeated assurances to the Sherbrooke Zellers staff that their experience, loyalty and long-term service would be respected once their store was rebranded as a Walmart. But when the store closed for refurbishment on June 6, Walmart terminated the site’s employees and took a Target-like position that refuses to respect the skills, service and contributions of the Sherbrooke Zellers workers.

“Walmart’s betrayal of these workers is an outrage, but it’s not a surprise,” says Tony Filato, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Canada) Local 500. “Walmart is Quebec’s most socially irresponsible employer with a long history of disrespecting the needs and rights of workers, especially the fundamental right to join a union and bargain collectively.”

Following Target’s lead in 2011, Walmart purchased the leases for 39 Zellers locations and will be converting the long-time Zellers’ sites to Walmart stores over the coming months. As many as 10,000 Zellers workers will be terminated because of Target and Walmart’s acquisition and refurbishment agenda.

“It’s getting more and more difficult to tell the difference between Walmart and Target,” says UFCW Canada national representative Kevin Shimmin, who is working with Zellers workers and community allies to raise awareness about the human impact of Target’s “real estate transaction” through the campaign

“Despite their stated commitment to social responsibility, Walmart and Target are showing people in Quebec, and all across Canada, that they’re really the same type of company with the same disregard for workers and our communities,” adds Shimmin. “The time is now for all of us to make a stand for fairness by telling these two American corporations to treat Zellers workers and our communities with the respect that we all deserve.”

UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union and leading retail workers' union representing more than a quarter of a million workers across the country. Together with Zellers workers and community allies, UFCW Canada is leading the fight for fairness in Canada’s retail industry through and other social justice campaigns.