Workers are prepared to strike Dec. 6
By Diego Flammini
Employees at Cargill’s processing facility in High River, Alta. almost unanimously rejected the company’s latest contract offer.
After two days of voting, 98 per cent of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 members voted against Cargill’s proposal.
“Cargill workers have told their employer through another overwhelming vote that they matter and that they deserve something more,” Thomas Hesse, president of UFCW Local 401, said in a statement. “We will be communicating the result to Cargill and asking them to return to the bargaining table to respond to our members.”
The proposed contract included a $2 per hour raise for production workers and a 50 cent per hour raise for maintenance employees.
Workers would also receive increases of 40 and 50 cents, respectively, each year for the duration of the contract.
Employees are prepared to strike if no deal is reached.
Workers voted on Nov. 4 to proceed with strike action if the company and the union can’t reach an agreement.
That strike would begin Dec. 6.
Cargill remains optimistic the two sides can reach a deal before the strike date.
“We are willing to keep meeting to avoid any labour disruption which is in no one’s best interest during an already challenging time,” Cargill told Farms.com in a statement.
The union would like to avoid a strike but will take the necessary steps to ensure workers receive a fair deal.
“In the shadow of Cargill workers’ demands, we’re optimistic that Cargill can bring an acceptable offer to our members and avert a strike before the deadline,” Hesse said. “But make no mistake, if it comes to a strike, our union will stand with Cargill workers for as long as it takes.”
If a strike does occur, the company is prepared to make necessary adjustments to keep the supply chain moving.
This includes diverting livestock to other locations.
“While we navigate this negotiation, we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders while keeping markets moving for farmers and ranchers,” the company said. “If necessary, we will shift production to other facilities within our broad supply chain footprint to minimize any disruptions.”