Prairie ranchers brace for potential strike at Cargill plant in Alberta as deadline looms

Many hoping for labour deal at High River beef plant after pandemic, drought impacts


Tony Seskus, CBC News (Canada)

Nov 19, 2021


In the last two years, Prairie ranchers have been dealing with drought, soaring feed costs and pandemic disruptions that led to massive cattle backlogs.


Now they are watching and hoping for progress on labour negotiations at the Cargill meat-packing plant in High River, Alta. The union representing workers at the plant issued a strike notice to the company earlier this month.


Staff could hit the picket line Dec. 6.


"We are extremely, extremely concerned about that," Melanie Wowk, a rancher and chair at Alberta Beef Producers, said in an interview this week.


The Cargill facility is one of the largest in Canada. It's been estimated that the facility processes about a third of Canada's beef.


Cargill spokesperson Daniel Sullivan said Thursday an agreement has yet to be reached.


But he said the company is optimistic they will be able to reach an agreement, and Cargill is working toward that before the union's strike deadline.


A spokesperson for UFCW Local 401 could not be reached for comment, but a strike notice issued on behalf of workers said employees at the plant have raised health and safety concerns related to COVID-19...


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