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First union meeting with Wal-Mart management

JONQUIÈRE, QC  Representatives of Local 503 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) met with their Wal-Mart counterparts for the first time this morning to open discussions on the Jonquière store in the Saguenay region.

"Our objective for this initial session was to meet with management and give them our view of the upcoming negotiations, which we succeeded in doing," said Local 503 President Marie-Josée Lemieux. "Our organization intends to go into the Jonquière talks with open minds, without being confrontational, and with respect for the other side," she added.

At the meeting, the two sides drew up a time schedule to work on an agreement for employees of the Jonquière store. Four days of bargaining are scheduled for November 29 and 30, and December 1 and 2, 2004. Before that, however, the union will present its draft collective agreement on Thursday, November 18th.

The Jonquière Wal-Mart is the retail chains only unionized store in North America. The units certification was upheld by a ruling of the Québec Labour Relations Board on September 10, 2004.

With 9,000 members, UFCW Local 503 is the largest union in the food and retail sectors in eastern Québec.

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