Martensville, Sask. – October 29, 2014 – Richardson Milling, the largest oat miller in North America, is devastating the lives of UFCW Canada Local 1400 members and their families in Martensville, Saskatchewan by refusing to negotiate with employees and put an end to its seven-week lockout of Local 1400 members. On September 10, 2014, Richardson Milling issued a lockout after the members rejected a contract offer from the company that failed to address workers' concerns regarding seniority rights, fair and equal pay, and benefit entitlements.
The members are asking for a fair collective agreement that ensures qualified employees are given first consideration for job vacancies before new hires, and that workers receive equal pay for equal work. The Local 1400 members are also demanding regular wage increases that are reflective of employees' tenure and experience with the employer, and a benefits package that will not be reduced by the employer during the collective agreement.
Richardson Milling's offer to the Martensville workers does not address any of these issues, and instead of returning to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair contract, the company is trying to use scab labour to undermine the collective bargaining process.
Richardson Milling is owned by Richardson International — Canada's largest privately owned agri-business – and is part of a thriving family-owned conglomerate with over $6 billion in annual revenue.
"This is a very successful corporation that supplies oats to a number of the largest food and cereal brands in Canada," says Norm Neault, President of UFCW Canada Local 1400. "The members make that success possible, and in return they expect a fair contract with predictable rates and pay scales that reflect industry standards across Saskatchewan," he adds.
UFCW Canada is therefore asking members, staff, community partners, and allies to contact Richardson Milling and its partner food manufacturers – which include Kraft, Kellogg, General Mills, Con Agra Foods, and Ralston Foods, among others – to demand a fair contract for the Martensville mill workers.