TORONTO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Canada will close one of its two Quebec stores that
won union certification last year after failing to reach a labor agreement, the
retailer said on Wednesday.
The Canadian arm of U.S. retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its store
in Jonquiere, Quebec, will close this spring after becoming the first unionized
Wal-Mart in North America about six months ago.
Wal-Mart Canada said it advised the union last year when the bargaining process
began that the store's financial situation was precarious.
"Despite this fact and nine separate days of meetings over a period of
more than three months, the company has been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement
with the union that would allow the store to operate efficiently and profitably,"
the company said in a release.
A spokesperson for the United Food and Commercial Workers union was not immediately
available for comment.
The company said the union applied for first contract arbitration on Feb. 2,
and in doing so acknowledged the two sides were not likely to reach an agreement.
The roughly 180 employees affected by the closure will receive severance packages,
In January, a Wal-Mart Canada store in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, won union certification
and said it hoped to deliver contract proposals by mid-February.
At the time, the retailer said it was considering all options to block the
certification, including legal action against the Quebec Labor Relations Commission.
Wal-Mart Canada said the decision to automatically certify the Saint-Hyacinthe
store was undemocratic and seriously flawed as employees were not offered a
secret ballot vote