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Ontario Cargill Workers Approve New Contract, End Strike

Workers at the Cargill beef processing plant in Guelph were expected to be back on the job today after approving a new contract agreement with the company. 

Members of Local 175 of the United Food and Commercial Workers voted in favour of the new deal in a ratification vote Saturday, ending a 41-day walkout that caused major disruption for Ontario cattle farmers. 

“It is a tough decision to go on strike and it can be an even more difficult decision to end a strike. But these members took a stand against a huge corporation, and they should be proud of their strength and courage,” Kelly Tosato, President of UFCW Local 175, said in a release. 

Workers walked off the job in late May at the Cargill facility, which processes up to about 75% of the province’s cattle. The disruption forced producers in the province to ship cattle to processing plants further away – incurring additional transportation costs – or hold onto and feed their animals for longer.     

“We are relieved to hear that an agreement has been reached between Cargill Guelph and Union officials,” Beef Farmers of Ontario said in a post on X on Saturday. “We will continue to monitor as the facility reopens and returns to normal operation.” 

According to the union, the new contract agreement includes: 

  • Wage increases totalling $3.75 per hour over the course of the agreement, which includes $2 per hour in the first year. That $2 will be paid retroactive for all hours worked, including overtime, since January 1, 2024. In addition, members receive a contract renewal incentive payment in the form of a $500 lump sum; 

  • Dental coverage improves to $2,000 per year, and members also benefit from the removal of lifetime caps on a number of dental services; 

  • Short Term Disability (STD) now has a maximum of 70% and will provide up to $143 more per week. This means members can receive up to $668 per week while on STD leave, and; 

  • Bereavement leave entitlement for members will now be five days, up from four, for the death of a spouse, child, or parent. 

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