- Workers at Cargill’s meat-processing plant in High River, Alta., have overwhelmingly rejected the company’s contract offer.
- According to Vazquez, the planned wage raises and pandemic bonuses are insufficient.
Workers at the Cargill meat-processing factory at High River, Alta., have decisively rejected the employer’s contract offer, leading to a strike vote in early December.
According to a press statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401, 98 percent of members voted in favor of job action if no agreement is reached by Dec. 6.
“These employees have been through hell and back. They want a fair contract, and Cargill’s offer falls short of that standard. Simply, Cargill must improve its performance, “Richelle Stewart, the union’s secretary-treasurer, agreed.
About half of the 2,000 workers at the plant contracted COVID-19 during the peak of the first wave in spring 2020. Two employees, as well as a worker’s father, died.
CTV News contacted UFCW officials to learn more about the newest offer and why it was rejected.
A Cargill employee approached CTV reporters on Thursday morning, voicing his dissatisfaction with the union and his employer’s handling of the pandemic, health and safety concerns, and contract negotiations.
“We’re exhausted. We’re fed up with Cargill’s indifference, but we’re also fed up with the union’s indifference, “Freddie Vasquez, who claims to have worked as a janitor at the facility for four years, agreed.
“Right now, we should be picketing outdoors.”
According to Vazquez, the planned wage raises and pandemic bonuses are insufficient.
“(The company) kept expressing how important we are, and how much we respect you guys, and how much we value you feeding Canadian families.” During the pandemic, we kept hearing all of the stuff, and then they decide to smack us in the face with $4.50?” he wondered.
“We’ve gone insane.” People are ready to go on strike.”
Because the location processes over 35% of Canada’s meat supply, job action might impact supply and prices at grocery store meat counters.
Cargill published a statement on Thursday morning, describing the High River factory as having “one of Canada’s top workforces.”
“And our proposal displays their incredible talent and commitment.” It stated, “Unfortunately, we have yet to reach an agreement.” “We’re still hopeful that we’ll be able to achieve a deal before the (Dec. 6) deadline.” We are willing to continue meeting to avoid any labor disruption, which is not in anyone’s best interests at this moment.
“While we go through this negotiation, we’ll continue to focus on filling orders from food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants, as well as maintaining markets open for farmers and ranchers.” To minimize any disruptions, we will relocate manufacturing to other locations within our vast supply chain footprint if necessary.”
A December strike could potentially occur when supply chain concerns have already had an impact on consumer pricing.
Source: CTV News
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