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Cargill workers in Alberta vote 71 per cent in favour of contract offer

Cargill workers okay contract

The threat of a strike at an Alberta beef processing plant has been averted after workers accepted the owner's latest offer.

The union that represents about 2,000 workers at the Cargill beef plant in High River says its members have voted 71 per cent in favour of accepting the company's contract.

In a statement, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 401 says the contract is "the best of its kind and presented unprecedented gains in this time of economic and political uncertainty."

It also says it was reached "during the biggest health crisis the world has ever seen."

Jarrod Gillig, the business operations and supply chain president for Cargill’s North American protein business, says the deal is "comprehensive" and" fair," adding it reflects their employees' "commitment to excellence."

A company spokesman had previously said the deal offered a six-year collective agreement that includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits.

Workers voted 98 per cent last month against Cargill's previous offer, and the union had said workers would strike if a contract agreement couldn't be reached.

Cargill and the union had been at loggerheads for some time over issues related to wages as well as health and safety.

In May of 2020, Cargill's High River plant was the site of a major workplace-related outbreak of COVID-19. More than 900 workers tested positive for the virus, and three deaths were linked to the outbreak.

In Brooks, Alta., 2,500 employees who process beef at the JBS Plant are watching the Cargill precedent carefully. In the New Year, the union said it will head into bargaining for a new contract.

 



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