Employees at Wal-Mart's only unionised shop in North America were told that their organising drive makes team effort "impossible" and that the store may shut down if an agreement is not soon reached with the union.

The Jonquière outlet, 500 km northeast of Montreal, employs about 170 people and has been unionised since August.

Wal-Mart Canada has expressed impatience waiting for contract talks to begin with the United Food and Commercial Workers, who said a proposal would be submitted by mid-November. Wal-Mart says delays are hurting business and company morale.

"If the store can't be efficient and profitable," warned a company release, "it's possible that the store will close." The union insists Wal-Mart's hourly workers make just less than the average supermarket employee in salaries and benefits.