(en)Walmart Workers Unionize In Toronto

Ewald (ewald@ctaz.com)
Sat, 01 Mar 1997 18:57:11 -0700


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>> /** labr.global: 419.0 **/
>> ** Topic: Walmart Workers Unionize In Toronto **
>> ** Written 10:21 PM Feb 17, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
>> From: Institute for Global Communications <labornews@igc.apc.org>
>>
>> The Philadelphia Inquirer
>> ) Thursday, February 13, 1997
>> )
>> ) Wal-Mart Canada loses labor tiff
>> )
>> ) By David Crary
>> ) ASSOCIATED PRESS
>> )
>> ) TORONTO -- Wal-Mart Stores, the world's biggest retailer, has lost a
>> ) labor dispute in Ontario and must deal with a union for the first time
>> ) at any of its 2,736 stores.
>> )
>> ) A provincial labor board ruled Tuesday that Wal-Mart subtly threatened
>> ) to close its Windsor store if workers voted to unionize. The workers
>> ) rejected unionization, 151-43, last May, but the board said the
>> ) outcome was ``meaningless'' because of deliberate efforts to threaten
>> ) job security.
>> )
>> ) Saying a second vote would be equally meaningless, the Ontario Labor
>> ) Relations Board ordered immediate certification of the United
>> ) Steelworkers as representing workers at the Windsor store.
>> )
>> ) ``Our immediate response is surprise and profound disappointment,'' Ed
>> ) Gould, spokesman for Wal-Mart Canada, said yesterday. ``We sincerely
>> ) believe that the vote by our associates was a true expression of their
>> ) will.''
>> )
>> ) Wal-Mart, which refers to its employees as ``associates,'' has
>> ) defeated every unionization attempt since it was founded in Arkansas
>> ) by Sam Walton in 1962. It has relied heavily on stock incentives to
>> ) motivate its relatively low-paid employees.
>> )
>> ) Gould said the company was strongly considering an appeal, but the
>> ) ruling takes immediate effect. The union has 60 days to declare
>> ) whether it wants to open contract negotiations.
>> )
>> ) ``I can't believe we won,'' said Mary MacArthur, a Windsor store
>> ) worker who helped lead the organizing drive.
>> )
>> ) Marie Kelly, a lawyer for the union, said Wal-Mart managers had left
>> ) the impression that the store might close by refusing to answer
>> ) questions about what would happen if the workers voted for the union.
>> )
>> ) Gould insisted that Wal-Mart executives followed Ontario labor law and
>> ) sought to communicate honestly with employees.
>> )
>> ) ``When asked what would be the impact of having a union, our view was
>> ) that we didn't know,'' he said. ``No Wal-Mart store has ever voted to
>> ) have a union, including Windsor.''
>> )
>> ) Kelly said the ruling should make it easier for employees at other
>> ) Wal-Mart stores in Canada to organize.
>> )
>> ) Wal-Mart, of Bentonville, Ark., long has espoused a philosophy that
>> ) workers are part of the corporate family and sought to avert
>> ) unionization by offering stock benefits.
>> )
>> ) It has fended off sporadic organizing efforts, and in 1994 paid
>> ) $15,000 to settle a complaint by a store clerk in New Hampshire who
>> ) said she was fired for trying to organize her coworkers.
>> ) --------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ) Philadelphia Online -- The Philadelphia Inquirer, Business --
>> ) Copyright Thursday, February 13, 1997
>> http://www2.phillynews.com/inquirer/97/Feb/13/business/WALM13.htm
>>
>> ** End of text from cdp:labr.global **
>>
>> ***************************************************************************
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__________________________________________________________________________ "Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace."

--Rudolf Rocker "Anarcho-Syndicalism", 1938 (Pluto Press, London, 1989) __________________________________________________________________________

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