PRESS RELEASE: MAY 03, 2005

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Wal-Mart Store in Jonquière Shuts Its Doors Earlier Than Planned 

"We will not leave anyone one out in the street," - Henri Massé, QFL President

 MONTREAL - Telbec/- "Today is a bleak day for the workers of Jonquière, as well as a bleak day for freedom of association. As soon as the planned closure was announced, last February, we joined forces with the local union in Jonquière to face the music and set up a sponsorship system to help support the workers," explained QFL President Mr. Henri Massé in a statement issued shortly after learning of the early closing of the Wal-Mart store in Jonquière.

QFL fund-raising is moving along at a steady clip

"We will not leave anyone out in the street, and our fundraising initiative to help support the workers from Jonquière is moving along at a steady clip. This initiative is also an opportunity to highlight the support among our members in all sectors."

If Wal-Mart was hoping to mitigate the media's coverage of the situation by moving up the planned closing of the store, then they're in for a surprise. We're simply going to work doubly hard to make sure that the company's practices are publicly disclosed," added the QFL President.

Wal-Mart going back on its word

"Mr. Pilozzi, it's time to give us an honest answer to one question: Is the closing of the Wal-Mart store in Jonquière due to the unionization of the store's employees, yes or no?", demanded Yvon Bellemare, President of UFCW QUEBEC.

"Wal-Mart went back on its word, in deciding to close its store earlier than planned. Once again, this is clearly an underhanded attack and a stab in the back for all employees, not to mention a manifestation of the company's utter scorn for Quebec laws and the province's citizens.

With this move, the company is obviously hoping to avoid the negative publicity that would have resulted when the media- which had made its interest in this case obvious on more than one occasion- converged on the store for the ruthless closing," Yvon Bellemare added.

No to intimidation and harassment

According to the UFCW, Wal-Mart had, prior to the recent intensification of intimidation and harassment tactics, been relentlessly brandishing the threatening notion, to its "associates", that unionization was to be equated with store closings.

The President of UFCW QUEBEC wrote a letter to Mr. Mario Pilozzi, President of Wal-Mart Canada, copying in Wal-Mart President and CEO Mr. Lee Scott, where he asked for an honest answer to the following question: "Mr. Pilozzi, once and for all, please tell us honestly- was the closing of the Jonquière store solely due to so-called financial difficulties, or the result of the democratic choice its workers made to unionize?"

He continued, stating "This is an excellent opportunity to communicate, once and for all, your true intentions to all of your employees and to the citizens of Canada and Quebec. We are asking for your commitment that no stores where employees favour unionization will be closed, and that you will immediately advise your "associates".

The UFCW has over 45,000 members in Quebec. The QFL, the largest central labour body in the province, represents the interests of over half a million members.

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