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  • unions_eat_chit unions_eat_chit Nov 27, 2009 5:53 PM Flag

    Canada high court rules for Wal-Mart in union case

    By CHARMAINE NORONHA, Associated Press Writer Charmaine Noronha, Associated Press Writer – 51 mins ago
    TORONTO – The Supreme Court of Canada said Friday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was entitled to close a store in Quebec in 2005, seven months after workers voted to become the first Walmart store in North America to unionize.

    The highest court in Canada ruled in a 6-3 margin that the multinational had the right to shut down the outlet in Jonquiere, Quebec, and lay off 190 employees.

    Justice Ian Binnie wrote for the majority, saying that the court had "endorsed the view that no legislation obliges an employer to remain in business." And that, "the closure did not constitute an unfair labor practice aimed at hindering the union or the employees from exercising rights under the labor code."

    A Wal-Mart Canada spokesman said the ruling is consistent with previous decisions from a Quebec labor commission and the Quebec Superior Court and Quebec Court of Appeal.

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    • They told the UFCW to GFY

    • By CHARMAINE NORONHA, Associated Press Writer Charmaine Noronha, Associated Press Writer – 51 mins ago
      TORONTO – The Supreme Court of Canada said Friday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was entitled to close a store in Quebec in 2005, seven months after workers voted to become the first Walmart store in North America to unionize.

      The highest court in Canada ruled in a 6-3 margin that the multinational had the right to shut down the outlet in Jonquiere, Quebec, and lay off 190 employees.

    • Nothing but the facts!

    • The way I read that the UFCW won!

    • Wal-Mart - 101,938

      UFCW - 0

    • >>The highest court in Canada ruled in a 6-3 margin

      WOW!

      • 2 Replies to clorree7
      • Supreme Court of Canada upholds Wal-Mart's rights
        Last Updated: Friday, November 27, 2009 | 06:54 PM EST
        Financial Post
        Story courtesy of
        The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the right of Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, to shut down stores after workers unionized at one of its outlets in Jonquière, Que.

        In a 6-3 decision, Justice Ian Binnie, citing previous case law, noted there is no legislation in Quebec that obliges any employer to remain in business, even if it closes for “socially reprehensible” reasons.

        The store closure, which followed one of the first unionizations of Wal-Mart employees in North America, drew continent-wide attention and the high-stakes appeal has been closely watched by labour and business.

        Laid-off workers at the store in Jonquière argued Wal-Mart violated Quebec labour laws and the workers’ constitutional rights by shutting its store during negotiations for an inaugural collective agreement in 2005.

        A majority of the Supreme Court judges rejected their appeal. They ruled that under the specific section of the Quebec Labour Code that formed the basis of the workers complaints, the workers cannot seek remedy if their former place of employment no longer exists.

        Had the workers brought forward their case under a separate section of the Labour Code, namely sections 12 to 14, then the question of whether Wal-Mart closed the store as part of an anti-union strategy might have been put in play.

        “I don’t think there’s a doubt that Wal-Mart won this case. And I think overall, on certain issues, the employer community did pretty good,” said George Avraam, a Baker & McKenzie lawyer who represented the Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada as an intervenor in the case. “[That said], this case doesn’t give a carte blanche to employers across the country to shut down their operations regardless of the reasons ... If there’s a case, they would award damages to employees.”

        “This is not a substantive victory for employers in any way whatsoever,” said Dominique Monet, leader of the labour, employment and human rights practice at law firm Fasken Martineau in Montreal. “[The judges] have certainly shown them the right exit to take on the highway next time.”

        Wal-Mart, with more than two million employees worldwide, has been fighting unionization in various Canadian courts and labour tribunals in recent years. Citing the cost of rising wages, the retailer closed another outlet in Gatineau, Que., last fall after workers secured their first union contract.

        A key question before the Supreme Court was whether the permanent closure of a store constitutes “good and sufficient reasons” for terminating employment, the standard in the Quebec labour code.

        Wal-Mart won the case in two lower courts in Quebec, which ruled a store cannot be forced to stay open against its will.

        “The impact of this decision is that there will be no impact,” argued Yves-Thomas Dorval, president of the Conseil du Patronat du Québec, the province’s main employer trade group. Others disagreed.

        The ruling means that when a company closes a part of its operations, a union can “no longer walk into court and make allegations that everything was done or masterminded with a view to harass the union,” said Guy Du Pont, a lawyer for Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg in Montreal who represented the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the case. The union must now prove it, he said.

        The Canadian Labour Congress had intervened on the workers’ side to argue against an “unfettered right to close down operations” when workers unionize because it would “intimidate, prevent or discourage employees at other locations from exercising their freedom to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.”


        http://www.cbc.ca/fp/story/2009/11/27/2275445.html

      • waltonsammy@ymail.com waltonsammy Nov 27, 2009 7:17 PM Flag

        Walmart,always a winner in my book.

    • The won on Wal-Mart's behalf was mostly on technical grounds. The case was lost for the employees because they used the wrong part of the Quebec Labour Code to mount their case.

      "A majority of the Supreme Court judges rejected their appeal. They ruled that under the specific section of the Quebec Labour Code that formed the basis of the workers complaints, the workers cannot seek remedy if their former place of employment no longer exists.

      Had the workers brought forward their case under a separate section of the Labour Code, namely sections 12 to 14, then the question of whether Wal-Mart closed the store as part of an anti-union strategy might have been put in play."

      http://www.cbc.ca/fp/story/2009/11/27/2275445.html

 
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