'We are not afraid': Workers at Cargill's High River, Alta. meat plant vote to strike
CALGARY -- Workers at a meat processing plant in High River, Alta. that was once the site of a massive COVID-19 outbreak have voted to strike, union leaders announced Wednesday.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 said a strike notice has been delivered to representatives of Cargill, the company that operates the facility.
In a release, the union said there has been strong support for the strike action, with 97 per cent of workers endorsing a strike. That's on top of the fact that close to 80 per cent of workers voted.
"They're big and they're bad, but we are not afraid," said UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse in a statement.
Negotiations are still possible, the union says, but if a deal isn't struck by Dec. 6, workers will go on strike.
"A picket line will be highly visible, and a strike appears to be a viable weapon in achieving a fair offer in negotiations," the union said.
Earlier in the pandemic, approximately half of all the workers at the facility contracted COVID-19. Two employees died as a result of complications caused by the virus.
Union leaders say they needed to take action to force the plant to close and alleges the provincial government "did nothing to address the unfolding tragedy" and lied to workers.
In the meantime, a spokesperson for Cargill said negotiations are still ongoing.
"We remain optimistic that we can come to the table and reach an agreement," said Daniel Sullivan with Cargill.