Cargill Inc.'s unionized workers in one of Canada's largest beef processing plants rejected the company's latest wage offer, prompting the meatpacker to consider moving operations to other facilities as a strike deadline approaches.
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The union representing workers at Cargill's plant in High River, Alberta voted to reject a contract offer by a 98% margin, the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union Local 401 said in a late Wednesday email. The union said that members will go on strike on December 6 at 12: 01 a.m. Unless a deal is reached, affecting operations at a plant that accounts for about 40% of Canadian beef processing capacity.
Cargill is optimistic that it can reach an agreement before the deadline and is willing to keep meeting with the union in order to avoid a labor disruption that is in no one's best interest during an already difficult time, company spokesman Daniel Sullivan said Thursday in an emailed statement.
While we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders, while markets move for farmers and ranchers, Sullivan said. We will shift production to other facilities within our broad supply chain footprint to minimize any disruptions. The labor dispute with the closely held U.S. company comes as Canadian beef prices have soared and as workers in the food supply chain push for higher pay. Companies are struggling to hire workers and retain enough staff to cope with rising demand as the economy emerges from a Pandemic. After a Covid 19 outbreak last year, half of the High River plant staff complained about health and safety.
Cargill workers told their employer through another overwhelming vote that they matter and that they deserve something more, UFCW Local 401 President Thomas Hesse said in a statement. We're going to send the result to Cargill and ask them to return to the bargaining table to respond to our members. None of the Wildfires Are Worse, and One Chemical Company is Reaping the Benefits.
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