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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  November 24, 2004
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World's biggest private employer finds union at its back door
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JONQUIERE, Quebec A Canadian Wal-Mart could soon become the first store in the chain with unionized employees.

Or, it could close.

The 165 workers at the store north of Quebec City are divided over whether to unionize. The debate has been marked by name-calling and accusations of intimidation by both sides.

But more than half signed union membership cards. So a government agency certified the workers as a union and told the two sides to negotiate.

Last week, a spokesman at Wal-Mart Canada said if no "reasonable" collective agreement is reached, it's possible the store will close.

Wal-Mart has nearly five-thousand discount stores in the United States and eight other countries -- all non-union. The chain says keeping labor costs down is one reason it can keep prices low.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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