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Unionization of a single Wal-Mart store in Quebec apparently coincides with the unit’s uncertain economic viability, and speculation abounds that Wal-Mart will respond by closing the store.

“Wal-Mart Canada believes the unresolved labour situation at the Jonquiere store is proving detrimental to improving the performance of the store,” the retailer said in a statement. “The Jonquiere store is not meeting its business plan and the company is concerned about the economic viability of the store.”

While Wal-Mart says it would incorrect to say that the company plans to close the unit, it did say there are two other, more profitable stores in close proximity. “We look at each store individually, on a store-by-store basis,” company spokesman Andrew Pelletier said in an interview with the Canadian Press. “Every situation is different. We would look at all factors, but at this point we can't even begin to make a determination on that.” Pelletier said that the unionized store has never made money.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), for its part, accused Wal-Mart of fear-mongering.
KC's View:
If Wal-Mart can’t get rid of the union at this store, it’ll close the thing down. Bank on it.

Employees at three Wal-Mart stores in Saskatchewan and two other units in Quebec also are seeking union certification. Wal-Mart has not said whether those five stores are profitable or not…but you can pretty much bet on the fact that unionization and lack of profitability go hand in hand.

Wal-Mart almost certainly is sending a message to the folks at these other stores – unionize at your own peril.