Canada’s Supreme Court rules against Wal-Mart over store closing

New York -- The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Wal-Mart violated Quebec labor law by closing its store in Jonquiere, Quebec, in 2005.
In a 5-2 decision announced on Friday, the court ruled that the 190 employees who were terminated when the store was closed are entitled to compensation, according to CBC Montreal.  
The closing came shortly after the United Food and Commercial Workers union was certified to represent the store's workers in 2004. The store eventually closed in spring 2005, putting the 190 employees out of work. Wal-Mart said the store was not profitable. It has maintained that it did not close the store because it was being unionized.

This marked the union’s second time at bringing the retail giant into court over the store closing. In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that the employees’ freedom of association rights were not violated when the company decided to close the store.

In 2013, however, the union filed a new appeal with the Supreme Court in which it argued that Wal-Mart violated a provision of the Quebec labor code by changing the workers’ conditions of employment without consent while the terms of the collective agreement were being negotiated, the report said. The court found Wal-Mart did not adequately prove the four-year-old store was in financial difficulty.

The court sent the case to an arbitrator to determine remedies, which will likely include compensation for the workers.

"We will review the decision carefully in order to determine what our next steps will be," Alex Roberton, Wal-Mart Canada's director of corporate affairs, said in an email to CBC Montreal.


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