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Richardson Canola Plant Workers Reject Contract Offer

Workers at the Richardson canola processing plant in Lethbridge have rejected the company’s latest contract offer and are now seeking mediation.

A statement this week from United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401, which represents about 140 plant employees, said workers rejected the proposed pact by a vote of 79%, with the union bargaining committee now preparing its next steps – the first of which is applying for mediation. Furthermore, the union said it is looking to return to the bargaining table to see if the company will improve its offer.

“Like a decisive strike vote, a rejected ratification vote often inspires employers to look more seriously into their profits,” the union said. “No matter how they rationalize it, they know a strike will cost them money.”

Workers voted on what was described as the company’s ‘best and final offer’ – which included improvements to wages, benefits and pension -on Dec. 16 -17.

A strike vote has not yet taken place.

Richardson’s Lethbridge plant has the capacity to process up to 700,000 tonnes of canola per year, following a $120 million expansion in 2017.

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