Wednesday, November 12, 2008
REGINA -- An unfair labour practices case -- involving allegations that Wal-Mart Canada tried to intimidate workers in Saskatchewan by closing a store in Quebec -- can proceed, according to a ruling by the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board.
The board, in a decision released Oct. 24, dismissed a "preliminary application'' by Wal-Mart to quash the application by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which is seeking permission to represent Wal-Mart workers in Weyburn, North Battleford and Moose Jaw.
The UFCW argued that the threat of closure and the closure of a Wal-Mart store in Jonquirere, Que., after it was unionized was an unfair labour practice designed to intimidate workers, including Wal-Mart workers in Saskatchewan.
John Beckman, a lawyer who represents Wal-Mart, argued against the union application on several grounds, including one that the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board had no jurisdiction to make rulings on events which occurred in Quebec.
But the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board ruled that it "has the jurisdiction to inquire into, hear and determine the application'' made by the union.
"The fact that the actions of Wal-Mart upon which the allegations are based were committed outside of Saskatchewan does not mean that they cannot constitute violation of the restriction on intimidation of its employees in (Saskatchewan),'' the labour relations board ruled.
The ruling by the board is the latest one in a long-standing fight between the UFCW and Wal-Mart about the unionization of Wal-Mart workers in Saskatchewan and about related legal and labour relations issues.