OTTAWA — Workers from a unionized Wal-Mart store that was shut down by the retailer in 2005 had their case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday.
The workers, who had won union representation shortly before Wal-Mart Canada closed the store in Jonquierre, Quebec, are seeking to overturn two lower court decisions that allowed Wal-Mart to shut down the store because, the retailer said, union demands would have resulted in unsustainable operational costs.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represented the workers, argued that their rights to form a union, guaranteed under the Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, were violated by the closing.
The decision by the Supreme Court is expected before September, the union said. Several trade groups have spoken out in favor of Wal-Mart, including the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
“Good law and sound economic policy dictate that employers throughout Canada ought to be able to retain the freedom and flexibility to make operational decisions, such as selling all or part of a business, contracting out work, expanding or reducing production and workforce, as well as closing all or part of their business,” Ian Howcroft, vice president of CME, said in a statement. “The presence or absence of a union should not limit this flexibility.”
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