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Cargill employees in Guelph on strike

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Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175, working at Cargill Dunlop in Guelph, are officially on strike.

According to a news release, union members voted 82 per cent in favour of rejecting a negotiated settlement on Sunday.

Nearly 1,000 members were on the picket lines as of 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The union said there’s an economic desperation in this country and workers need to be able to afford a decent standard of living.

There are currently no planned talks between the union and Cargill.

Workers, meanwhile, are promising to keep striking for as long as it takes.

According to the union, the Dunlop facility is a beef slaughter and processing plant where members work in a hot, fast-paced environment. That work, they added, takes a toll.

Cargill employees on strike at the Dunlop facility in Guelph, Ont. on May 27, 2024. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The union said it has raised a number of issues at the bargaining table, including the increased cost of living, and the $2 per hour pandemic pay that the union claims was taken away during the pandemic.

“Our members at Cargill Dunlop are an integral part of a vital supply chain that helps keep food on the table for people every day,” explained Kelly Tosato, the president of UFCW Local 175. “The decision to go on strike is never easy but these members aren’t satisfied with what the company has brought to the table. And we will have their backs until their Union Negotiating Committee can achieve a deal that reflects the nature of their hard work and commitment to creating quality food products that feed hundreds of thousands.”

The union did not want to speak on camera with CTV News and Cargill did not responded to our request for comment.

UFCW Local 401 said, in a media release, it stands in solidarity with the Local 175 members. Adding, that this strike is about workers needing more money to survive and they feel Cargill can afford to pay employees more.

According to a 2024 Forbes article, the Cargill-MacMillan family, which owns the company, is America's largest private company with revenues of $177 billion. At least 100 family members own an estimated 88 per cent of the company.

Cargill’s website said its plants in Alberta, and the Guelph facility, make up 55 per cent of the beef processing market in Canada. The Dunlop site employs 950 people, processes 1,500 head of cattle per day, and is also the only large-scale facility in Canada that produces 100 per cent Halal certified beef.

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