Labor Union Strikes Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard

LAVAL, Que. -- Demands for better working conditions for employees is the rallying cry of union organizers who have won the first round of a unionization battle against c-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., The Globe and Mail reported.

The labor union, known as the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) with about 300,000 members, has formed the first union at a north end Couche-Tard store located in Montreal, according to the news outlet.

Jean Lortie, head of CSN's retail unit, would like to see Couche-Tard give something back to its employees. "We want decent working conditions for the employees, who are paid minimum wage and have to juggle with terrible hours and very little in the way of benefits and vacation time," he told the news outlet. According to Lortie, Couche-Tard has used the global recession to justify a freeze on wages before as he told The Globe and Mail: "we looked in vain for signs of a recession in their annual report."

On Couche-Tard's side regarding the unionization battle, spokeswoman Denise Deveau told the news outlet that: "It's too early to comment."

Couche-Tard employs about 8,000 people across its 560 stores in Quebec. CSN said that it will push hard to extend the victory to other Couche-Tard outlets, however, the newly formed union must still win approval from the provincial labour board, according to the news source.

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