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  • The New York Times reports that Wal-Mart executives are going to do something unusual today – meet with a group of employees that wants to form a labor union.

    The session is to take place in Jonquière, Quebec, between Wal-Mart Canada managers and employees who have formed a union local that has been certified by a provincial labor board. The employees’ goal is to get Wal-Mart to engage in contract talks that will result in the first collective bargaining agreement ever signed by the retailer in North America.

    There are no guarantees, however. Wal-Mart already has made clear that the single store where the employees work is unprofitable, raising the specter that it could close the unit. The implications of such a decision could resonate throughout Canada, however, since there are six applications for union certification at Wal-Mart stores pending or under appeal in three Canadian provinces. And union organizers say that if Wal-Mart closes the store, it will be seen as a clear signal that the company is spoiling for a fight…and the union says it is prepared to fight back.

    Wal-Mart responds that when it opens a new store in Canada, it typically receives 10 applications for every job, and has been called one of the best private employers in the country…and that unionization will do nothing to help employees.

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