Target ‘successor employer’ test case underway in B.C.

Ruling will be based on how many elements of Zellers’ business Target is taking over
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2012

A hearing to determine whether Target is a “successor employer” to Zellers is underway in British Columbia. The outcome could determine the future of unionized workers at a Zellers store in the province, and set the pattern for workers at four other unionized Zellers stores in Ontario.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union filed the application earlier this year as a test case. The union claims Target, a retailer based in the United States that is expanding to Canada, is a “successor employer” to Zellers, and thus obligated to continue to employ 120 unionized workers at the Brentwood Mall location in Burnaby, B.C., and to, “honour the wages, benefits and seniority,” they have achieved through collective bargaining.

Target has argued the $1.8-billion acquisition of Zellers leases is a “real estate transaction” only and not the “continuity” of a business. The retailer plans to shut down Zellers stores for six to nine months for renovations before re-launching them as Target outlets starting in spring 2013.