Court dismisses Wal-Mart appeal

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In a judgment released July 24, 1997, the Divisional Court dismissed Wal-Mart’s application to quash the Ontario Labour Relations Board’s certification of the United Steelworkers of America to represent employees at one of its Windsor outlets. (For a previous article on this subject, see “”Subtle but effective threat” to close store leads to certification of Wal-Mart outlet” on our Publications page.) The Board had ordered the certification following its ruling that Wal-Mart’s conduct leading up to the representation vote constituted an unfair labour practice.

In dismissing the employer’s application, the court noted that the Board’s decision had not been based solely on Wal-Mart’s refusal to answer employees’ questions about a possible store closure if the union were certified, or on its strategy of having four managers constantly engaging employees in conversations about the union. Rather, the Board had come to its decision based on the combined effect of the employer’s actions in the context of its campaign against the union.

The court added that the Board had considered whether any remedy other than certification would have been sufficient to counter the effects of the employer’s actions. While the Board’s reasoning on the issue of remedy could have been more extensive, it was open to it to order certification based on its finding that the employer’s actions during the campaign would render a second representation vote meaningless.

For more information on this subject, please contact Andrew Tremayne at (613) 563-7660, Extension 236.