Wal-Mart employees in Gatineau get union contract

Workers hope the retail giant will not shut down the store as it did five years ago in Jonquiere, Que.

Gatineau, Que. (8 Oct. 2010) - Employees at the Wal-Mart outlet in Gatineau, across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, have their first collective agreement after years of trying to establish a union shop.An arbitrator imposed the store's first contract for about 150 Wal-Mart employees at the Plateau Boulevard location in Gatineau. The employees are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada).The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has worked with the UFCW Canada for many years to support the drive to organize Wal-Mart workers. The contract awards employees a raise of 30 cents per hour this year followed by a raise of the same amount next year. It also gives workers more seniority protection, distributing working hours, wages and benefits, the union says.In 2005, Wal-Mart closed another store in Jonquiere, Que., days before an arbitrator imposed a contract for its employees. In 2008, it also closed a tire shop on Maloney Boulevard in Gatineau after its employees received union certification.Employees at the store on Plateau Boulevard said Thursday although workers were concerned by Wal-Mart's previous actions at unionized stores, the Gatineau location is busy and hope Wal-Mart will not close it too.For its part, Wal-Mart released a statement saying it would take things "one step at a time" in considering the future of the store.

NUPGEThe National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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