Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

May 06, 2005 09:00 ET

Open letter to Wal-Mart workers: "We're on your side"

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - May 6, 2005) - Ken Georgetti today released a letter to Wal-Mart employees across Canada, reassuring them that actions planned for Friday and Saturday are for them, not about them. The letter will be distributed at stores targeted for "days of greeting" later this week and is available on the Canadian Labour Congress web site.

"I want to make sure that the people who work for Wal-Mart understand what's happening. The people who will gather outside some of their workplaces to greet shoppers are upset at the way Wal-Mart does business and it's lack of respect for Canadian laws and people's rights. They will also be there to express support and appreciation for the people who work in Wal-Mart's stores and warehouses." says Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Georgetti wants Wal-Mart workers to know that Canadians are on their side just in case their bosses try to tell them something else.

"We want to make Wal-Mart a better place to work. We want it to be a place Canadians can feel good about shopping because it treats its workers fairly, respects the law and supports human rights," he says.

Actions are planned Friday and Saturday at 43 locations across Canada in reaction to Wal-Mart's decision to shut down its store in Jonquiere, Québec after workers there voted to join a union.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site:

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LETTER from Ken Georgetti


I wanted to write this letter to you so you would understand what's happening at a lot of Wal-Mart stores across Canada over the next couple of days.

First, let me tell you that there is nothing wrong with you because you work at Wal-Mart. Nobody is saying that. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your work and taking pride in doing your job well.

But, I want you to know that there are a lot of Canadians like me who think Wal-Mart can and should be a better place to work. We think your company should treat you better and that belonging to a union will make a difference.

Wal-Mart has done some very bad things to some of its employees. It has been caught breaking the law more than once for not reporting accidents where people get hurt at work. It has been caught breaking the law for exploiting illegal immigrants as cheap labour. It has even admitted breaking child labour laws. And it just closed a big store in Quebec because the workers there voted to join a union.

Choosing to belong to a union is your right as a Canadian. It is a right that I respect and a right a lot of other people are going to show you they support.

In the coming days at Wal-Mart stores across Canada, people will be gathering outside to show their support for Wal-Mart employees. They will be greeting customers, telling them about the bad things Wal-Mart does and asking them to help tell your bosses how unhappy Canadians are about it.

When any company acts this way, it makes people upset and angry. In Canada, working people have rights and our governments have passed laws to make sure our workplaces are safe, to make sure people get paid for their work, and to protect us from discrimination.

Companies that do business in Canada are expected to respect those rights and obey our laws. Wal-Mart just needs to be reminded that this is the way things work.

So, if you see people greeting customers in front of your Wal-Mart store or hear about people gathering at other stores near you, remember that all those people are there because they want to make sure you get the respect you deserve.

We all want to make Wal-Mart a better place to work. There's nothing wrong with that.

In Solidarity,


Contact Information

  • Jeff Atkinson, Canadian Labour Congress
    Primary Phone: 613-526-7425
    Secondary Phone: 613-863-1413