Union presses Olymel to pay employees during COVID-19 shutdown at Alberta pork plant
The Canadian Press
via The Globe and Mail (Canada) - February 19, 2021
RED DEER, Alta. / A union for pork plant workers in central Alberta says it is exploring legal options to ensure they are paid during a shutdown brought on by a COVID-19 outbreak, while the company is working to ease a backlog that has pinched Prairie hog farmers.
Olymel indefinitely closed its hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning operation in Red Deer earlier this week. As of Thursday afternoon, Alberta Health had been notified of 389 cases linked to the outbreak, 197 of which were active. One worker had died.
The president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 believes laying off workers without pay during the temporary closure contravenes its collective agreement with the company and may also violate Alberta employment standards.
“We continue to believe that it is the company’s responsibility to support and provide compensation for their employees during this necessary pause in production, because it is due to failures on the company’s part that the workplace needed to close,” he said in a statement.
The union also wants Olymel to introduce pandemic pay and to...