Toronto – March 24, 2020 – Canada’s voice of food workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada), is proud to announce that national and local union conversations with major meat producers at Olymel, Cargill, and Maple Leaf Foods have secured premium pay increases and more safety protections for all front-line workers at these companies.
As part of a series of improvements aimed at recognizing and protecting employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, UFCW members working at Cargill protein processing facilities will receive wage increases of $2 per hour worked.
In addition, Cargill will work to enhance employee safety at their facilities by adjusting break times, changing table configurations so that employees are facing forward and not across from each other, and increasing sanitation in common areas such as break rooms and restrooms. The changes are effective as of March 23, 2020.
Maple Leaf Foods, meanwhile, will be providing an additional $80 per week – $2 per hour up to 40 hours worked – to all front-line employees, and will also be enhancing safety measures at their facilities by not allowing visitors to their facilities, adjusting break periods to increase physical distancing, and sanitizing common areas more frequently, effective March 23.
At Olymel processing facilities, all UFCW members in Quebec and the rest of Canada will see wage increases of $2 per hour worked as of March 23, which will amount to an extra $80 per week for most Olymel employees. Like Cargill and Maple Leaf, the company is implementing changes to break and lunchtime schedules to increase social distancing at its plants, and is prohibiting visitors to its facilities while boosting sanitation measures for commons areas.
UFCW Canada represents thousands of workers in the meat processing industry across the country, including union members at Cargill, Maple Leaf Foods, and Olymel facilities in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, who are proud members of UFCW Canada Locals 175 & 633, 248P, 401, 500, 501, 832, 1006A, and 1991P.
“The strength and determination that meat processing members have shown as they work to sustain Canada’s food supply chain is truly admirable, and these wage premiums and enhanced safety measures are welcomed steps in recognizing the integral work of members during the COVID-19 crisis,” says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada.
“While our union welcomes these measures, and commends Olymel, Cargill, and Maple Leaf for taking steps to recognize members’ hard work, there is still an urgent need and opportunity for government and industry to work with the union to further protect workers and the sector during these challenging times,” the UFCW leader adds.