Wal-Mart Workers Canada - part of UFCW Canada, a progressive Canadian union representing private-sector workers - is trying to improve the lives of the 80,000 Canadians who work at Wal-Marts.
Needless to say, Wal-Mart is trying to stop them, and has been for a very long time.
You'll remember what happened in Québec, where Wal-Mart closed a store rather than negotiate in good faith with a union.
The former Wal-Mart employees of that Jonquière, Québec, store filed a lawsuit charging Wal-Mart with violating their Charter Rights. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, and a decision is expected soon.
But the battle continues. Workers at a different Québec store became the first group of main store Wal-Mart employees in their province to win a union contract, the result of more than four years of legal challenges, negotiations, and mediation. Workers at two other Wal-Mart locations - a Tire & Lube Express, a division of Wal-Mart, in Hull, Québec, and a main store in Weyburn, Saskatchewan - are also negotiating their first contracts.
Now, threatend with being forced to come to the table with a collective bargaining unit, Wal-Mart is pulling out all the stops. The company has launched a censorship campaign aimed at muzzling Wal-Mart Workers Canada. Tactics include:
Wal-Mart filed a court injunction with the Quebec Superior Courtagainst the UFCW Canada-run Wal-Mart Workers Canada website. The injunction uses trademark law to call for significant changes to the website and threatens to undermine UFCW Canada's ability to effectively communicate with Wal-Mart workers. One of their outrageous demands would prevent us from using oval, circular or semi-circular designs. Where will this end? Can you imagine a world without circles? UFCW Canada is confident that Wal-Mart's case is unfounded, so it is maintaining the look, feel and messaging of Wal-Mart Workers Canada. On July 28, 2009, UFCW Canada launched this campaign to call on Canadians to contribute to the defence of their digital rights by challenging Wal-Mart to demonstrate that they respect freedom of expression by immediately dropping the injunction request.
Think they're exaggerating? Take a look at the injunction: pdf here.
How you can help:
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Wal-Mart's anti-labour, anti-human policies provide ample material for a dedicated blog and then some. Here's a sample from wmtc:
Many thanks to activist, wmtc reader and friend David Heap for answering the question Will The Circle Be Unbroken.