'This injunction request is an over the top assault on effective freedom of speech.' - Wayne Hanley, UFCW Canada national president.
Quebec (5 Aug. 2009) - Wal-Mart, the world’s largest corporation, reached a new low when it filed for a court injunction that would limit the effectiveness of a website dedicated to helping its Canadian employees understand and exercise their rights.
The injunction request, filed with the Quebec Superior Court, concerns the popular website www.walmartworkerscanada.ca. The site is maintained by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) which has been working to organize and help Wal-Mart workers for nearly a decade.
"This injunction request is an over the top assault on effective freedom of speech," says Wayne Hanley, the union's national president. "It’s a kneejerk response by Wal-Mart to the idea of its employees trying to understand their options as workers and trying to share experiences with other ‘associates’."
Wal-Mart uses the Orwellian term "associates" to describe its workers.
“Wal-Mart’s response to the success of www.Walmartworkerscanada.ca is just another outrageous example of how the largest retailer in the history of the world will use its bottomless legal budget to manipulate the collective bargaining process and do just about anything to discourage its ‘associates’ from joining the union,” Hanley says.
Despite several threatening letters from Wal-Mart and the prospect of a legal battle, UFCW Canada refuses to be silenced and has launched a public awareness and popular action campaign in response the multinational’s threat.
On July 28, UFCW Canada launched a new campaign that calls on Canadians to contribute to the defence of their digital rights by challenging Wal-Mart executives to demonstrate that they respect freedom of expression by immediately dropping the injunction request.
Activists can contribute by visiting www.Wal-Martworkerscanada.ca/freespeech and sending an email to Wal-Mart executives.
Another way for UFCW Canada members to help protect digital rights is by spreading the word about the SAVE the CIRCLE! Facebook group.
Wal-Mart will make its case to Quebec’s top court in the coming weeks.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has signed a protocol with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) to support and cooperate in the UFCW's campaign to organize workers at Wal-Mart stores across Canada. NUPGE