Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ha! Wal-Mart gets slapped

Almost missed this, but in great news, Wal-Mart got slapped a bit today:

A Quebec arbitrator has imposed a collective agreement on Wal-Mart for the first time in the world's largest retailer's history.

The arbitrator released the decision Friday on the contract for eight workers at a tire-and-lube garage at a Wal-Mart store on Maloney Boulevard in Gatineau, just across the river from Ottawa. The workers are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada.

Guy Chenier, head of the local representing the workers, said the union is delighted with the deal, which gives the workers raises averaging 35 to 40 per cent effective immediately, as well as more vacation.

This is the first time in North America that a Wal-Mart, infamous for union-busting and intimidation tactics, is opening its doors with unionized workers who are using their rights. Quebec has a strong and assertive union movement, and I'm not the list bit surprised that Wal-mart's uppence is coming there. Oh, and wittle Walmart isn't happy...

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said the company is unhappy with the decision and it is "incompatible" with the company's way of doing business.

Dang right! Paying people a living wage is certainly incompatible with how Walmart makes money. I wouldn't plan any shopping trips to the first unionized Evilmart in North America, given their past history...

The retailing behemoth, whose $10 billion annual profits are based on low prices, low expenses and its relentless pace of store openings, announced it will shut the doors here May 6 after workers voted to make this the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America.

So props to my former home of Quebec, one of the best aspects of North America.

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