Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Union loses its battle

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WEYBURN, Sask. -- Canada's largest private-sector union has been dealt a blow in its long legal battle with a Wal-Mart store in Saskatchewan that is the retail giant's only unionized outlet in the country.

The Supreme Court of Canada said Thursday it would not hear the United Food and Commercial Workers' appeal of decisions by the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board on union accusations of unfair labour practices.

That means an application to decertify the union at the store in Weyburn will proceed and will include votes already cast by employees. The votes were set aside until the court decision.

"We are pleased with the court's decision," said Andrew Pelletier, Wal-Mart Canada's vice-president of corporate affairs. "Our associates in Weyburn voted more than 21/2 years ago in a secret ballot on whether or not they wanted to be represented by the union, and they are still waiting for their votes to be counted."

More than 80 employees at the Weyburn store cast ballots in a decertification vote on Dec. 22, 2010.

The ballots are to be officially tallied today at the labour board office in Regina.

Norm Neault, president of UFCW Local 1400, said the union is disappointed the high court will not hear the appeal.

He said if the decertification vote fails, the union will continue to seek a contract for its members who work at the Weyburn store.

If it succeeds, the union will have to accept the loss, Neault said, but won't give up. "We are going to continue to keep up the good fight and make sure that we are able to organize Wal-Mart and bring the type of wages and benefits to the workers that they deserve."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2013 B12

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