Local 832 asks Granny's Poultry to put workers health on New Year's resolution list

UFCW Local 832 presenting the improvement order to the members: Marlene Martin, Chief Shop Steward; Jerry Kies, UFCW Representative; Rob Hilliard, UFCW WCB Advocate; Guy Sylvestre, UFCW Health and Safety Resource Personnel

UFCW Canada Local 832 President Jeff Traeger is asking Granny's Poultry management to stop putting the company's profits before the health of its employees.

Granny's Poultry, one of Manitoba’s largest poultry processors, was issued an improvement order in October 2011 by the province’s Workplace Safety and Health Division after the union fought with the company for over three years about poor ventilation causing respiratory issues.

For years, workers have been complaining of respiratory issues and poor air quality at the poultry plant in the Turkey Evisceration Area. The health and safety committee regularly tried to investigate the problem, but management refused to cooperate. After the company continually denied the complaints, the union hired an occupational hygienist to investigate the issues and, along with reports of studies of poultry plants in the United States on similar issues, a complaint was made to the Provincial Health and Safety Division. After visiting the plant, the division agreed with the union's findings and issued an improvement order.

"This company has shown complete and total disregard to the health of our members. Granny's Poultry and its board of directors should be ashamed of how they treat its workers. They know that the exposure to chloramines is causing respiratory issues and by refusing to make the necessary changes at their plant demonstrates their disregard for the workers safety," says Brother Traeger.

While the company drags out the appeal process, Local 832 is confident that once the Workplace Safety and Health Division hears how the company refuses to make the necessary changes, that the long awaited improvements will be done.

Local 832 represents over 500 members working at Granny's Poultry and 15,000 across the province of Manitoba.