On Friday, the Supreme Court in Canada ruled that Wal-Mart has to compensate former employees at a store in Quebec that closed after voting to become the first Wal-Mart store in North America to form a union.
According to The Associated Press, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2009 that Wal-Mart was allowed to close the store in Jonquiere back in 2005, just seven months after the employees there voted to form a union. Despite the ruling, the employees filed a new case that said the company contravened a section of labor law in Quebec. The law they are referring to states that working conditions must not change in any way, shape or form when a unionization is taking place.
The Supreme Court ruled, in a five-to-two vote, that Wal-Mart changed the working conditions for employees without providing a valid reason when the store closed. An arbiter will now decided the appropriate amount of damages to be paid to the former employees, which could include interest. The store has not re-opened.
Wal-Mart is headquartered in Arkansas and it opened the store in Jonquiere back in 2001. The United food and Commercial Workers Union was certified to represent the store’s employees in September of 2004.
The store closed its doors in April of 2005, right before an arbitrator was going to impose a CBA for the 190 unionized employees.
A Wal-Mart Canada spokesman said that the company is going to weigh its options.