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UFCW urges all food process manufacturers to follow Maple Leaf lead


March 23, 2020  


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Cargill Inc. and Maple Leaf Foods announced a premium pay program for employees at their protein processing plants.

“Workers in food manufacturing are key at this time to maintaining the food supply chain.  The workers at Cargill and Maple Leaf Foods facilities have been under stressful conditions during this crisis and these measures will go a long way to providing security for them,” said UFCW Local 175 President Haggerty.

These programs follow after discussion with the union and follow the trend from other employers to recognize and protect workers.

Cargill’s program provides for a premium of two dollars per hour worked, with a bonus of five hundred dollars paid to those who complete weekly shifts over a period of eight consecutive weeks. This payment will be effective starting March 23.

Maple Leaf Foods will pay an additional eighty dollars per week to employees at their manufacturing facilities.

Among other improvements, both employers will increase measures to enhance employee safety at their facilities. This includes not allowing visitors to the facility, adjusting break times and providing additional space to improve social distancing, as well as increasing the frequency of sanitation in common areas of the plants.

“Employee safety at workplaces that continue to operate through the COVID-19 crisis is vitally important,” said Haggerty. “We are pleased to see that the Union’s discussions with Cargill and Maple Leaf will result in these new measures. Now, what we need to see is more employers across the food supply chain and in our health care facilities follow this model and do what’s right to provide security and safety for their employees.”

The union continues to reach out to all employers where members of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 work to have them compensate employees properly, provide pay security for those that need to be off work, and enact stringent health and safety protocols for everyone’s safety.

“We are hearing stories every day about the strength and resilience of our members and all frontline workers during this time of uncertainty. Now, more than ever, employers must prioritize their workers and focus on their health, safety, and security,” said Haggerty. “Our focus will continue to be ensuring that members are protected and secure throughout this ordeal.”

Over the last week, Loblaw companies, Metro Richelieu, and Sobeys announced similar measures being put in place throughout their network of stores across Canada.

UFCW Locals 175 and 633 represent over 70,000 workers in all workplace sectors including over 41,000 workers in retail grocery and pharmacy, as well as industrial food preparation.


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