Couche-Tard Takes Heat From Union

Retailer says store closed over lack of profits, not unionization effort

MONTREAL -- One of Quebec's biggest unions is accusing convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. of closing down one if its stores where employees were trying to unionize, putting 13 employees out of work, reported the Canadian Press.

"The message that we want to give to Couche-Tard's management is that this will not intimidate employees who were in the process of unionizing throughout Quebec in a number of Couche-Tards," Jean Lortie, head of the retail unit of the Confederation des syndicats nationaux said Thursday.

Couche-Tard said in a statement [image-nocss] that the Montreal convenience store was closed because it was not profitable. "Despite measures to turn around the situation, the location in question didn't meet the standards established by the company and also wasn't profitable," the retailer said.

There was no other choice but to "go ahead with its immediate closure," it added.

The union said in a statement that "this store had just been renovated from top to bottom by the company."Lortie said Couche-Tard needs to stop being afraid of having a union representing its employees. "It's for negotiating reasonable working conditions with their employees. A strategy of sabotage, a strategy of anti-unionism like that won't go anywhere," said Lortie.

Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard has approximately 5,875 stores in Canada and the United States and employs 53,000 people. It operates a number of convenience store banners, including Couche-Tard, Mac's, Circle K, 7-jours, Dairy Mart, Daisy Mart, and Winks. The company is also the master franchise holder for Dunkin' Donuts quick service restaurants in Quebec.