Top court sides with Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Canada says it’s not surprised the highest court in the country has ruled the multinational was entitled to close a unionized store in Quebec in 2005.

MONTREAL — Wal-Mart Canada says it’s not surprised the highest court in the country has ruled the multinational was entitled to close a unionized store in Quebec in 2005.

But the union which represented the workers considers the Supreme Court of Canada ruling a partial victory.

The court ruled in a 6-3 margin on Friday that Wal-Mart had the right to shut down the store about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City and lay off 190 employees.

A Wal-Mart Canada spokesman says the ruling is consistent with previous decisions from a Quebec labour commission and the Quebec Superior Court and Quebec Court of Appeal.

“The situation in Jonquiere was an unfortunate situation,” Andrew Pelletier, the vice-president of corporate affairs, told The Canadian Press.

“I think most people know that Wal-Mart tried to keep the store open.”

Pelletier added the company tried to reach a collective agreement but couldn’t persuade the union to agree to a contract “to allow this struggling store to continue.”

“And that’s what led to the ultimate closure.”

The union was certified in August 2004 and the store closed in April 2005.

Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti said the ruling would likely not apply in the rest of Canada.

“We have always believed that Wal-Mart closed its store in Jonquiere because its employees had voted to join a union,” Georgetti said.

“But the Supreme Court of Canada has now ruled that under the Quebec labour code, the onus was on the workers to prove that the company closed the store for that reason. In other provinces and territories the onus would have been on the company to prove that was not the case.

“This decision will not deter unions from taking on Wal-Mart in Quebec and other provinces.”

During the Supreme Court hearings earlier this year, the company denied it fired its employees because of union activity.

The retail giant said the employees were let go simply because the store was shutting down.

But workers at the outlet said the two events were related.

Louis Bolduc of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union says the top court’s decision opened a door because a labour board will now be able to investigate the reasons for store closures.

“If we can prove the reasons are anti-union then we can sue for damages,” he said in an interview.

Just Posted

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

Most surveyed Innisfail residents give urban chickens the thumbs up

Town of Innisfail will discuss whether to allow backyard chickens on Monday

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Sky’s the limit as Calgary opens testing area for drones and new technologies

CALGARY — The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Most Read