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A second BC Wal-Mart location goes union with UFCW Canada

SURREY, BC, March 8, 2006  Another Canadian Wal-Mart location has been certified seven months after a majority of workers at a Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express (TLE) shop in Surrey, British Columbia voted in favour of unionizing. The ballot box had been sealed pending hearings by the British Columbia Labour Relations Board (BCLRB).

The vote was originally held in September of 2005 but Wal-Mart held true to its usual pattern of litigation and delay. It took until March 3, 2006 for the BCLRB to work its way through Wal-Mart's legal challenges and authorize a count of the ballots cast by workers at two separate Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express shops in Surrey.

The vote at one location was narrowly lost 5-7, but employees at the Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express on 88th Street in Surrey voted 7-2 in favour of joining the union.

Those workers have now been certified by the BCLRB as the newest bargaining unit of UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers Canada) Local 1518.

"Despite the delays forced upon these Wal-Mart workers, they are now members of our union, and we couldn't be happier about that," said Brooke Sundin, President of UFCW Canada Local 1518. "We're very much looking forward to representing our newest union members. We will be approaching the company shortly to begin negotiations for a contract."

Surrey is the second BC Wal-Mart TLE to be certified. Workers at a TLE in Cranbrook, BC were certified on September 7, 2005 and negotiations for a first contract have begun. Arbitration for a first contract at a Wal-Mart store in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec is also underway. Four other Wal-Mart locations in Quebec have been certified. An additional Quebec application is pending, as is an application for a Wal-Mart in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

According to UFCW Canadas national director Michael J. Fraser, "we are making steady progress in spite of Wal-Marts bullying and employee intimidation."

"We congratulate our newest members in Surrey," said Fraser, "for standing up and succeeding against Wal-Marts tactics to harass, delay and deny their constitutional right to join a union. This is their victory and we commend them."

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