March 29th, 2020

Beef workers on the job

By Medicine Hat News on March 24, 2020.

This week, Cargill and the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, announced new premium pay for employees and the major slaughter facility in High River. Workers will be paid a $2 per hour premium on regular work weeks to keep more workers on the job, as well as guaranteed two weeks of sick pay in case of illness or the need to self-isolate. Hygiene and other procedures are increased as well.

Maple Leaf facilities across the country will also join in premium pay plan for UFCW workers. Similar requests were made by the union of JBS Foods, which employees 2,000 at its Brooks facility, thought that company has not publicized a response.

Some grocery chains, such as Loblaws (Superstore) and other eastern outlets, have also implemented the UFCW plan across Canada.

Cattle sector

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association states in a notice to members that “there are no fundamental changes to the export and import of food and livestock related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This is a fluid situation and we recommend all partners in beef production stay up to date with and follow federal and provincial government policies.”

The provincial association closed its offices to the public late last week but is encouraging its members to be cautious and consciences

“We encourage everyone to stay safe and keep informed,” said Kelly Smith-Fraser, the chair of the Alberta Beef Producers.

“We are working closely with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Government of Canada and our provincial government” on behalf of beef and cattle producers in Alberta during the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

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