Workers at a
in Canada voted against unionizing, marking the latest unsuccessful bid by organized labor to get a foothold at the world's biggest retailer.
Wal-Mart said employees in the union's proposed bargaining unit at a store in Windsor, Ontario, voted 167 to 59 on Tuesday against joining the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, or UFCW, representing a 74% vote against certification.
The UFCW said it asked the Ontario Labor Relations Board to consider another vote, accusing Wal-Mart of intimidating workers in an effort to manipulate the outcome.
"A month ago, Wal-Mart posted a notice on the Windsor lunchroom bulletin board announcing they would be closing a store in Jonquiere
Quebec that recently unionized. And throughout this week, department managers were taking employees one by one out to the parking lot to sign anti-union petitions," the union said in a prepared statement.
It said its charges against the company will be aired at hearing with the Ontario Labor Relations Board March 30 and April 4 and 5.
In early February, after a Canadian Wal-Mart store unionized in Jonquiere, Quebec, the company closed the store, claiming the union negotiators were making unreasonable demands that threatened the store's business. Shortly after the closing, Wal-Mart Canada was ordered by the Quebec Labor Relations Commission to stop intimidating workers who want to form a union.
The commission said Wal-Mart must stop "harassing and intimidating" three employees at a store in Quebec City.
Also, three different Wal-Marts in Quebec received bomb threats in a period of two days following the closing, according to Canadian media reports.
In addition to the Jonquiere store, the UFCW has successfully unionized a store in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. The union said it has applications to certify 12 others pending with labor boards in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
In late February, a group of workers from the Tire & Lube Express department at Wal-Mart's Loveland, Colo., location voted 17-1 against union representation. Currently, there are no Wal-Mart workers in the U.S. represented by organized labor.
Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the U.S. and the biggest retailer in the world, derives some of its competitive advantages in low labor costs. That was especially apparent throughout its recent foray into the grocery business, which prompted massive labor strikes across Southern California as traditional grocery chains attempted to cut health and other benefits to their workers in an attempt to compete.