UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

April 14, 2005 10:00 ET

ONTARIO PREMIER ASKED TO CALL INQUIRY INTO WAL-MART COVERT ACTIVITY

News of U.S. Wal-Mart dirty tricks campaign compounds Ontario suspicions Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 14, 2005) - The premier of Ontario has been asked to call a public inquiry into the activities of Wal-Mart Canada and whether a covert campaign to bust a union at a Windsor Wal-Mart in the 1990's might have subverted the integrity of Ontario labour laws and even touched the office of then Premier, Mike Harris.

The call comes following charges filed in March against Wal-Mart with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), and in the wake of explosive new allegations that the former long time vice-chairman of Wal-Mart condoned a slush fund to finance anti-union activities.

In a letter calling for the inquiry sent to the Premier McGuinty this week, Michael J. Fraser, the national director of UFCW Canada explained, "as the union leading the efforts to organize Canadian Wal-Mart workers these new allegations do not surprise us. They make us only more convinced of the charges now front of the OLRB regarding a covert campaign to break the union at a Windsor Wal-Mart in the 1990's that left a financial paper trail leading back to the office of Premier Mike Harris."

The charges now before the OLRB detail that a former undercover operative supplied money, equipment and strategic union-busting directions to some Windsor Wal-Mart workers in the wake of the union certification of the store's employees in 1992. Later, two of the employees who led the drive to decertify the union received an all-expenses-paid invitation directly from Premier Harris's office to be with him when he announced changes to the Ontario Labour Relations Act, including the stripping of powers of the OLRB referred to as "the Wal-Mart amendment". Those two employees later received an additional $500 apiece from the Premier's office for attending the press conference.

"The integrity of Ontario is at stake," said Fraser, "and the citizens of Ontario need to know whether Wal-Mart blatantly subverted the constitutional right of workers to form a union, and unduly influenced the Harris government to weaken our labour laws."

"Now allegations are coming out that the vice-chairman of Wal-Mart was financing a secret campaign to bribe Wal-Mart workers to prevent unionization," said Fraser.

"Only a full public inquiry can answer that and other questions. The people of Ontario need to know facts about what led to the decertification of the union at the Windsor Wal-Mart in the 1990's, and the connection between the company, Mike Harris's office, and the changes in the labour act that followed."

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/For further information: For more information go to ufcw.ca/ IN: ECONOMY, JUSTICE, LABOUR, POLITICS, RETAIL

Contact Information

  • Michael Forman, National Media Coordinator, UFCW CANADA
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 249
    Secondary Phone: 416-579-8330
    E-mail: mforman@ufcw.ca