PRESS RELEASE: JULY 13, 2006

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Another bomb alert at Wal-Mart

This time, employees refuse to search store. For the second time in less than a week, the Wal-Mart store in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu has been involved in a bomb threat.

This time, however, the 40 workers refused to help the police search for a suspicious object after being requested to do so by their manager.

The store was closed yesterday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to allow local police to go over the premises with a fine-tooth comb. They found nothing. No employee assisted the police in the search this time, although the manager had requested it.

On July 5, employees of the same Wal-Mart store were made to help six police officers in searching the store for a suspicious object.

The employees claimed that the American company had forced them to carry out this task.

As far as the customers were concerned, they had been asked to leave the premises. The Health and Safety Board is conducting an investigation on these events.

According to a union source, store management asked employees to search the store yesterday but did not force them.

In response to the July 5th episode, a Wal-Mart spokesperson claimed that it was the Saint-Jean police that asked for the employees help.

"We never force our employees to do anything, said Yanik Deschênes. We cooperated with the police. Our procedure is simple: when this kind of incident occurs, we follow the instructions of the police to the letter."

Mr. Deschênes nevertheless indicated that the company would study the incident in order to determine if a new procedure is necessary.

This news story which quickly spread across the country gave rise to some strong reactions.

"What made Wal-Mart think it had the right to endanger 40 people without their consent?, asked the National Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Wayne Hanley yesterday. Why did the company usher out its customers but order its workers to stay put?"

The UFCW was behind the attempt to unionize the Wal-Mart store in Jonquière.

The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu police has not found the perpetrators of these two bomb threats.

  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com