Wal-Mart v. Union, round whatever: Wal-Mart loses battle, wins war in Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Wal-mart has to pay compensation to workers who lost their jobs when Wal-mart closed a unionised store in Jonquière, Quebec, but the store stays closed.

Some of you may remember, a decade ago, that a union was certified to represent the workers at the Jonquière Wal-mart. This was the first time ever that a Wal-mart was unionised. They management and the union negotiated over a first contract for some time, but then Wal-mart announced it was closing the store for “business reasons.”

After a decade of litigation, including a previous trip to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court has now held (5-2) that Wal-mart’s closing of the store violated Quebec’s labour laws, which prohibit an employer from changing working conditions while a collective agreement is being negotiated. Closing a store and dismissing the workers is a change in working conditions that has to be justified as a normal business practice, not tied to the unionisation. The arbitrator in this case was not satisified that it was a normal business practice, and therefore ruled that the workers were entitled to financial compensation for the loss of their jobs. The Supreme Court upheld that ruling.

The remedy is that each of the workers who was fired appears to be entitled to financial compensation, to be determined by an arbitrator. However, Wal-mart is victorious overall: the store stays closed.

Globe and Mail article:

Court rules Wal-Mart violated labour laws in Quebec union case

Link to the SCC decision: United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v. Wal‑Mart Canada Corp.

Previous GD thread: Wal-Mart’s unfair labor practices?

Previous Pit thread: Wal-mart closes the only unionized store they have

One store, just one store goes union, they may think that’s really sick and they’ll shut it down. And if two stores, two stores do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both [redacted per Moderator instructions] and they’ll shut both of them down. And three stores do it, three, can you imagine, three stores going union, and singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant. They may think it’s an Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty stores a day, I said Fifty stores a day going union and singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant? And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Wal-Mart Employee Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to go union is join the next time it comes around on the Guitar.
. . . with apologies to Arlo Guthrie