UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

March 08, 2005 07:00 ET

UFCW Canada: Wal-Mart 1997 Campaign to Bust Windsor Union Leaves Paper Trail Back to Former Ontario Premier's Office



MARCH 8, 2005 - 07:00 ET

UFCW Canada: Wal-Mart 1997 Campaign to Bust Windsor
Union Leaves Paper Trail Back to Former Ontario
Premier's Office

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 8, 2005) -

Dirty Tricks Continue on Verge of Latest Windsor Vote

Charges against Wal-Mart Canada have been filed with the Ontario Labour
Relations Board outlining Wal-Mart's efforts to bust a union at a
Windsor Wal-Mart a decade ago. The charges detail a paper trail leading
back to the office of then Ontario Premier Mike Harris. The charges also
reveal Wal-Mart's latest efforts to thwart a more recent organizing
drive at the same Windsor store leading up to a certification vote being
held at the Windsor store today.

The unfair labour practice charges were filed Monday by UFCW Canada
(United Food and Commercial Workers Canada). According to UFCW Canada's
national director, Michael J. Fraser, "Wal-Mart was up to dirty tricks
in Windsor a decade ago and they're up to them again."

In 1997 the OLRB certified a union bargaining unit at a Wal-Mart store
on Tecumseh Road East in Windsor, Ontario after the board determined
Wal-Mart had intimidated workers during an organizing drive at the store.

Soon after, the Tory government of Mike Harris changed the Ontario
Labour Relations Act and stripped the OLRB of its power to automatically
certify a union in the wake of employer intimidation. An anti-union
petition campaign eventually led to the Windsor store being decertified.

"The charges," says Fraser, "include evidence from Wal-Mart workers who
led the
anti-union movement back then that they received equipment, charge
accounts and money to run their campaign. They also received airfare,
and accommodations, and $500 each for reimbursement of meals of less
than $100, all paid for by the Premier's office for appearing with Mike
Harris the day he announced his changes to the labour act."

"Some of those employees are still working at the store," says Fraser,"
and they have given evidence that the man who was the secret operative
between them and Wal-Mart a decade ago has recently resurfaced and is
behind a new campaign to make sure today's vote at the Windsor store

"We hope Wal-Mart's tactics don't influence the vote," says Fraser,
"including their recent announcement to shut a store in Jonquiere just
after the employees unionized. We've also included that action as
another unfair labour practice in our filing because what Wal-Mart did
in Jonquiere was meant to frighten Wal-Mart workers everywhere about
what could happen them if they voted for a union."

Today's Windsor vote is being held at the store and is being conducted
by the OLRB. Voting ends at 9:30 p.m.


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