April 22nd, 2024

Second union drive at Hat plant sites

By COLLIN GALLANT on February 24, 2024.

The CF Industries fertilizer production plant, seen in this February 2021 file photo, is the subject of a certification application filed by Unifor with the Alberta Labour Relations Board. -- News file photo


An industrial union seeking to certify one major Medicine Hat manufacturing plants has now also applied to represent workers at another.

Officials with Unifor, Local No. 4050, told the News on Friday that they have filed applications to become bargaining agent for 106 employees at the CF Industries fertilizer plant in northwest Medicine Hat.

The same union applied earlier this month to represent about 47 workers at Cancarb. That will be decided in a vote next week.

Unifor’s national director of organizing, Justin Gniposky, told the News that he filed applications related to CF Industries with the Alberta Labour Relations Board on Thursday.

The two drives may have occurred in the same general time frame, he said, but are “not necessarily” related.

“It is the same situation,” he said. “Working conditions haven’t kept up, they’re experiencing challenges especially during and after the pandemic, and they just want a choice to be represented by a union.”

Messages left with officials at CF’s headquarters in Illinois were not returned late Friday.

CF Industries is already a union site when it comes to maintenance and trades construction contractors under agreement with the multi-union General Presidents Maintenance Agreement.

Gniposki said that about 106 CF employees would comprise the proposed bargaining unit and would have a final vote on whether to join the union or not. The final number would be determined by the ALRB following an administrative hearing and submissions by the company. If enough initial support is determined to exist through card signings, the matter would be put to a secret ballot where a majority of ballots cast is required.

At Cancarb, a unit would consist of about 47 workers involves in production and shipping, not including managerial, sales or administrative staff, after a hearing with Unifor, Cancarb and ALRB officials earlier in February.

A secret ballot, electronic vote will be held on Monday and Tuesday this week to determine final support, said Gniposky.

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