BOSTON — Wal-Mart’s long-running battle against unionization has a new frontline — Canada.
After sparring for years in the U.S., the Union of Food and Commercial Workers and Wal-Mart are facing off over a pair of union-certified stores in Quebec, one of the most pro-labor provinces in Canada. The world’s largest retailer said last week that it would close its store in Jonquiere, Quebec, because union demands made the store economically unfeasible to operate. The two sides had been meeting with a mediator since October.
“The message Wal-Mart is trying to send is they are not going to accept unions anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” said Marc Bendick, a labor economist with Washington, D.C., firm Bendick Egan. “The most interesting entry wedge is going to be outside the U.S. As Wal-Mart is going heavily into Europe, they are encountering a very heavily unionized environment. I think that’s going to be the leading edge on news about whether Wal-Mart can maintain its no-union position indefinitely.”
The UFCW’s Canadian chapter on Friday announced it would file a complaint with the Quebec Labor Relations Commission. “Wal-Mart never had any intention of reaching a collective agreement,” Michael J. Fraser, national director of UFCW Canada, said during a news conference in Toronto. “Wal-Mart made its decision to close the store months before we sat down at the table.’’
A spokesman for Wal-Mart Canada said the “economically fragile” Jonquiere store could not have remained profitable under the union’s terms “When we layered on the union’s demands it wasn’t viable,” said Wal-Mart Canada spokesman Kevin Groh. “We won’t close a store for union reasons, but we will close for business reasons.‘’
Wal-Mart’s business model is predicated on keeping overhead and labor costs low.
In Jonquiere, the union was seeking different protocols on scheduling and a new definition of full-time employment. The changes would have required 30 additional workers on the selling floor, given mandatory hours to others, and “seriously altered the basic business model of the store,” Groh said.
Michael Forman, spokesman with UFCW Canada called Wal-Mart’s scheduling “ad-hoc” and said many workers do not find out until their shift is ending if they are scheduled to work the next day.The UFCW represents 230,000 members in Canada . It has never organized a Wal-Mart store.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)