Maple Leaf Pork Locks Out Warman Road Facility
WINNIPEG, MB – Maple Leaf Pork announced that effective immediately it was locking out employees and suspending operations at its Warman Road pork cut operation in Winnipeg. The decision was made after employees at the facility voted to turn down the company’s latest offer.
Over 460 hourly employees at the plant, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, local 832, voted 55 per cent against accepting the contract. The facility has approximately 600 hourly employees in total. The most recent contract expired on April 30, 2003 and a strike vote was taken on May 25, 2003. In Manitoba, there is no requirement to notify the company of intent to exercise a strike mandate.
“We are disappointed with the vote. We put forward what we believe was a fair offer,” said Randy Powell, President of Maple Leaf Pork. “We did not want to suspend operations. However, our business involves perishable products. We needed to take decisive action to assist our hog producers and to manage the needs of our business.”
The company has taken steps to minimize disruption to customers.
The current Warman Road collective agreement has a complex, two-tiered wage structure that compensates unskilled and semi-skilled workers at the same rate, or in some cases higher rates than skilled workers. The company was seeking to create a simpler, single tier wage structure bringing unskilled and semi-skilled rates in line with market averages.
Maple Leaf is committed to paying competitive wages in the markets in which it operates. The company also believes in paying for skills and offers abundant training opportunities to employees.