On Wednesday, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 401 served Cargill with a strike notice.
“We have conducted a strike vote in accordance with the requirements of the Labour Relations Code,” reads the notice from UFCW Local 401 President Thomas Hesse. “The results of that strike vote present an overwhelming desire to engage in strike action on the part of our members.”
The strike vote saw 97 percent endorsement by members, with 75 percent of eligible voting members turning up to vote, according to UFCW.
The company is asking Cargill to move workers who are given new jobs to those jobs quickly; address COVID-19-related health and safety concerns; and offer reasonable wage increases.
According to the union, if a deal isn’t made, workers will begin their strike on December 6, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. at the High River, AB processing plant.
“We anticipate that, despite being served with this notice, you will bargain in good faith to resolve our differences and achieve a collective agreement that is satisfactory to our members, who have served Cargill so faithfully and have suffered so much in furtherance of the operation of your business during a life-threatening and life-taking pandemic.”
The union believes a picket line will be highly visible, and the strike is a “viable weapon in achieving a fair offer in negotiations.”
According to CTV News Calgary, a spokesperson for Cargill said negotiations are ongoing. “We remain optimistic that we can come to the table and reach an agreement.”
UFCW is an Albert-based union with 32,000 members, who primarily work in retail food sales and production.