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Cargill workers to vote on possible strike

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Employees at the Cargill meat processing plant just outside High River, Alta. will vote Wednesday night on whether to accept the latest contract offered by the multinational food giant, sources tell QMI Agency.

A plant employee, who wished to be identified only as Jeffery, said workers would “almost certainly” vote against Cargill’s latest contract and overwhelmingly support giving union leadership the go ahead for a strike.

He said the strike vote is necessary to provide the union with greater leverage in these latest rounds of talks. 

The biggest point of contention in the contract appears to be the size of the hourly wage increase.

Sources say Cargill is currently offering only a $0.25 raise, with the union looking for a figure closer to $0.75.

Cargill spokesperson Mike Martin said the company would not comment on these ongoing negotiations.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1118, based out of Red Deer, represents the plant’s roughly 2,000 employees.

A person at the union’s High River office answering the phone on Tuesday refused to comment on the vote and details of the contract offered by Cargill.

Local president Albert Johnson did not return calls on Wednesday.

According to the Cargill website, the plant processes 4,500 head of cattle per day and alongside the company’s facility in Guelph, makes up 55 per cent of the beef processing market in Canada.

The plant is one of the largest employers in High River and has a broad “impact on the local economy,” says an August 2010 community profile about the town complied by Bow Valley College

 

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