Grocery store tries to derail unionization campaign with dire predictions

Support for union dropped signficantly after management spread word of possible shutdown and layoffs
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The British Columbia Labour Relations Board has ruled a grocery store in Prince George, B.C., interfered with the formation of a union through unlawful conduct including intimidation of its employees.

In July 2006, the United Food and Commercial Workers began a campaign to organize the employees of Better Buy Market, a warehouse style grocery store. In August 2006, Larry Hyette, the owner of the store, learned from an employee of the union drive. He responded by calling a meeting with managers, office and sales staff and some workers. At the meeting, Hyette said he wasn’t happy about a union coming in and instructed those at the meeting to get more information and to be careful.

After the meeting, the warehouse supervisor approached an employee, Teresa Seminuk, and told her he knew there had been a union meeting at her house and there had been an insider there. Seminuk claimed later the supervisor had said “if the union came in, the employees would be laid off or have to work part time.”