Locked-out XL workers vote down company's offer

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hillsdown

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Farm Business Communications, 9/28/2009


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Locked-out XL workers vote down company's offer

By Staff


Unionized workers at XL Foods’ beef packing plant at Moose Jaw, Sask. have “solidly rejected" the latest contract offer from the company which locked them out last week.

The workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) Local 1400, voted against the offer at a meeting Sunday night in Moose Jaw, according to a statement Monday on the union’s website.

The workers were just ending a five-month layoff, which XL Foods announced in April, citing a shortage of available slaughter cattle. Just prior to the workers’ expected recall date, the union was informed last week that the layoff has been superseded by an indefinite lockout.

The company’s offer to the workers, who had been without a contract since Jan. 31, had been pending for some time but the union had wanted to wait until the XL plant had reopened from its shutdown or at least issued recall notices to eligible workers.

Following the lockout notice, the union moved to organize a vote on XL’s latest offer.

Phone calls to Norm Neault, president of the UFCW Local 1400 in Regina, and to Patrick Bieleny, chief financial officer at XL Foods’ head office in Edmonton, weren’t yet returned Monday afternoon.

“We are prepared to recommence operations in Moose Jaw but we require a union contract that will allow us to be competitive in the marketplace,” XL’s co-CEO Brian Nilsson said in a company release Sept. 18.

“We regret that this lockout has to impact our other employees and suppliers and hope that they will stand by with us until we are able to continue operations in Moose Jaw.”

XL added that its buyers would continue to buy cull and fed cattle for its other facilities in Alberta, Nebraska and Idaho.


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I don't know the particulars of the XL offer but would assume it would be the same offer that XL Lakeside and XL Calgary have? I think if that was the case the workers need to give their head a shake!
I don't think jobs are so plentiful in western Canada right now that anyone can just walk across the street and find another job.
XL Moosejaw is a fairly new plant built by Canada Packers around 1988. XL Calgary is a dinosaur and XL Lakeside is no spring chick. XL Moosejaw was almost an exclusive cow plant with a full boning line. This is not good at a time when record numbers of cows need to go to slaughter this fall.
 
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hillsdown

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Fats are already backed up in western Canada expect the prices to plummet back to 2003 bse days ,10 cents a pound by the end of Oct. or worse they will be refused at the sale barns.

Sorry, but I think in this day and age the unions need to give their head a shake or go away all together.

I for one would rather work for minimum wage than go on welfare or ei any day. Where is peoples pride anymore. When people ask what you do, do they really tell them nothing I am on welfare.. :?
 

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Fred: I don't think XL is trying to bust the union as their other two plants are unionized and I don't think those plants have a problem. I think we have to wait and find out just what the offer was?
XL closed the plant down for the summer saying there were insufficient numbers of cows available. They continued to buy cows for XL Calgary and XL Lakeside as well as their two cow plants in the USA. Cargill High River only kills cows one day a week and there are a few smaller players buying cows in Alberta, but XL is the main buyer. The fact was XL wanted to limit kill numbers so they could push the cow price down. They were also trying to ship a lot of cows to their plants in the US as kill costs are quite a bit less there.
I suspect they might never open XL Moosejaw again even though it is their most modern plant(Alberta has tax advantages)? With a greatly reduced cow herd in Alberta this year the writing is probably on the wall? Both Cargill and XL have been running at about two thirds capacity all year...that can't go on forever...something has to give.
 

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Further to this subject: The "Western Producer" came out yesterday and reported XL mailed out an offer to workers over the summer...not to the union. The union decided to wait until they were recalled to vote as they didn't know how many workers would be returning....apparently about one third had moved on. XL locked the workers out Sept 18 because the workers hadn't signed the contract. On Sept 25 XL came out with a changed offer. Four major changes to the summer offer.
$1.25 raise over 4 years in increments of 16 or 17 cents at a time. Compared to $2.00 in the summer offer.
Guarateed 32 hour work week compared to guaranteed 37 hrs. in July.
A cut severance package if the plant closed permanently and limited vacation days.
A demand for unlimited overtime.

XL has stated it needs a competitive union contract(what are the contracts like at XL Lakeside, XL Calgary, Cargill High River?). It also cited kill costs of $30 lower per animal in the USA due to not having to remove SRMs in the US.

It seems to me XL has no interest in re-opening XL Moosejaw? Maybe beef up their kill plants in the USA instead? Or build a new one in the USA?
 

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