business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • Published reports say that Quebec Labour Relations Board has ruled that Wal-Mart did not have sufficient economic reasons to close a store there where the employees had voted in favor of unionization.

    Wal-Mart has said that the unit, in Jonquière, Quebec, was borderline in terms of performance and that the costs of unionization would push it into the red. It has denied that it closed the store simply because it did not want to deal with the union.

    As a result of the decision, Wal-Mart could be hit with a fine and ordered to financially compensate the store’s 190 former employees.

    The Labour board also said there remains a possibility that the store might reopen.

  • Wal-Mart currently is in a California court fighting charges that it systematically denied workers in its stores there the 30-minute unpaid lunch breaks to which they are legally entitled. The law says that if workers don’t get the unpaid break, they have to be paid for an additional hour.

    The suit is a class action, in which more than 100,000 former and current Wal-Mart employees are being represented.

    Wal-Mart denies the charges.

KC's View:
Without knowing all the facts of the case, we have trouble believing that systematically denying its employees a lunch break is on the agenda down in Bentonville. Doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been done by certain store managers…but it just doesn’t seem like a mandate from headquarters.