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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.