Beef Farmers Call for Resolution to Cargill Labour Dispute

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Source: Beef Farmers of Ontario

We remain highly concerned by the ongoing labour dispute between members of UFCW Local 175 and the Cargill Dunlop facility in Guelph.

In the short-term, beef farmers have been mitigating the impact by sourcing alternative facilities in Canada and the U.S. to process their cattle, or keeping animals on farm for a longer period of time, both of which present unique challenges and, in many cases, additional costs. We do remain concerned about the sustainability of these efforts if the strike is prolonged.

The supply chain challenges that come with the loss of eastern Canada’s largest beef processor cannot be understated, consequences that will only increase with each passing day and week that the strike continues.

Yesterday afternoon, we were fortunate to meet with Ontario’s new Minister of Agriculture, Rob Flack, to brief him on the current situation, reiterate the significance of the disruption, and outline our list of short-term measures that we believe will help mitigate the extra costs associated with marketing and transporting cattle to new locations, if the dispute persists.

Since the onset of the strike, our leadership has been in close contact with government representatives, the Canadian Cattle Association, the National Cattle Feeders’ Association and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to discuss the current and evolving situation, and potential mitigation measures that could be invoked if the strike is prolonged.

Beef farmers who need to move cattle have been grateful for the remaining buyers and processors in the marketplace who have been helping to manage the growing backlog.

While we fully respect and support the collective bargaining process, we urge both sides to get to the negotiating table and a find workable solution as soon as possible.

 

June 3, 2024 (Guelph, Ont.) – As we enter week two, Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) continue to monitor the strike action by members of UFCW Local 175 working at the Cargill Dunlop facility in Guelph, and its impact on beef farmers.

Our leadership has been in close contact with Minister Thompson, government representatives, the Canadian Cattle Association and the National Cattle Feeders’ Association to discuss the current and evolving situation and potential mitigation measures that could be invoked if the strike persists.

Late last week, and over the weekend, we met with members of BFO’s Feedlot Committee, which is comprised of elected feedlot owners from across the province, to finalize short-term solutions to help mitigate the on-farm consequences of the strike, which we have submitted to the province for review and consideration.

We remain hopeful that the negotiations between both parties will come to a swift resolution, and will keep our members informed as the situation develops.

 

May 27, 2024 (Guelph, Ont.) – Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and the Ontario Cattle Feeders’ Association (OCFA) are aware of the strike action that began today as of 12:01 a.m. following the rejection of the negotiated settlement by members of UFCW Local 175 working at the Cargill Dunlop facility in Guelph. The Cargill Dunlop facility employs 950 people and processes 1,500 head of cattle per day.

BFO and OCFA have been following the negotiations leading up to today, and we were hopeful an agreement would have been reached over the weekend. However, members of UFCW Local 175 voted down the proposed contract yesterday. We are engaged in the situation and have been in close contact with the Canadian Cattle Association and government representatives as we monitor the impact of the temporary closure of the Dunlop facility.

We are hopeful that the negotiations between both parties will come to a swift resolution, and we will keep our members informed as the situation develops.

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