Wal-Mart closure about absolute power not profits
Wal-Mart closure about absolute power not profits:
The following statement was issued today by the national director of UFCW Canada, Michael J. Fraser in reaction to the announcement made by Wal-Mart Canada to close its "unprofitable" store in Jonquière, Québec.
Nearly thirty years ago I started out as grocery clerk which is the kind of work that many of our members do today.
Our members, 230,000 across Canada, are your neighbours. They work in grocery stores and meat packing plants and hotels like this one. Some of them work in nursing homes, car rental agencies, grain elevators and many other places.
Some work as security guards. Others work at the Beer Stores here in Ontario.
Our members are the people who make Maple Leaf hot dogs. Others make Heinz ketchup. They're working men and women. They're not rich. They don't have glamorous jobs but over the years their job in a union workplace has held their families together.
Their union job has helped send their kids to college, given them security and has allowed them to earn a pension so that when they retire they won't have to face poverty.
About six months ago two hundred men and women in Jonquière, Québec became the newest members of our union. For doing that, for exercising their legal right to join a union, their employer Wal-Mart decided to teach them and their families and their community a very bitter lesson.
They fired all of them by telling them
their store will shut three months from now.
Wal-Mart says it wasn't because they joined a union. Wal-Mart says it was just a business decision and in a way it was.
Wal-Mart decided to become union free because to Wal-Mart their employees are worthless.
Wal-Mart, which now controls the working lives of 70,000 Canadians, made a business decision that the cost of disposing of 200 men and women in Jonquière was a good long term investment in creating fear in the rest of their employees across Canada and the United States.
I want to assure our members and their families in Jonquière that we are there for you. We will continue to be there for you as long as it takes until the wrong that Wal-Mart has done to you is made right.
In Québec we will be filing charges against Wal-Mart for bargaining in bad faith because it's clear that over the past two months Wal-Mart was only bargaining on the surface.
Wal-Mart never had any intention of reaching a collective agreement. Wal-Mart made its decision to close the store months before we sat down at the table with them. They made the decision the day the labour board certified the union.
Everything since then has been a charade.
On behalf of our members we will also be filing unfair labour practise charges regarding Wal-Mart's vindictive actions in Jonquière.
We will be asking the Québec Labour Relations
Commission to force Wal-Mart to prove that the store in
Jonquière was losing money because we know that in spite of
the company's statements, Wal-Mart's decision to wreck the
lives of 200 workers, their families and their community was
not about profits.
The store was making money and would have continued to make money like other unionized retail chains in Québec.
Wal-Mart's calculated ruthlessness was not about profit. It was about power – the absolute power that Wal-Mart wants over its workers, and suppliers and towns it does business in.