Highbury Canco Strike Ends with Ratified Agreement
February 12, 2023
Updated March 7, 2023
Highbury Canco members ratify new agreement; strike comes to an end
The members of UFCW Local 175 at Highbury Canco in Leamington have ratified a four-year agreement. The ratification of the new deal brings an end to the strike, which began on February 13, 2023, for the 405 members of the bargaining unit.
More details to follow.
Updated March 6, 2023 at 3:10 p.m.
On March 6, 2023, the Union Negotiating Committee for the members at Highbury Canco reached a unanimously recommended settlement with the company and the 405 Members will have the opportunity to vote on the recommended settlement.
Any members with questions should contact their Union Representative.
Media: Please note, the Union will not be responding to inquiries prior to the vote.
Updated February 23, 2023
The 405 members of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 at Highbury Canco are on their eleventh day of walking the picket line now.
“The support in this town has been incredible,” said Regional Director Sam Caetano. “Our spirits are definitely lifted every time someone drives by and honks in solidarity, and we’ve been fortunate to receive food and beverages from members of the community too. That support goes a long way to making sure these workers feel seen and heard in their fight for better wages and respect.”
Well into the second week of the strike, there are still about 150 probationary employees entering the plant regularly. “Those workers are in a sticky situation,” explained Caetano. “Those workers are not covered by the Union but they’re also not outsourced scabs. They are probationary employees who have basically been told to show up for work or get fired. While we certainly wish they wouldn’t cross the picket line, we also understand their predicament.”
“This situation is why legislation to protect workers is so vital,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “Anti-scab legislation is one thing – and it’s important – but we also need better protections all around to make sure employers can’t get away with drawing out a strike by threatening unrepresented workers. Leamington is a wonderful community and this employer is pitting neighbours and friends against each other instead of coming back to the bargaining table.”
At this time, the employer has not shown any interest in getting back to bargaining. The Union remains open to returning to negotiations to get these members back to work, producing quality products for consumers.
Published: February 13, 2023
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, the unionized workers at Highbury Canco in Leamington rejected a final offer from the company.
The 405 full-time workers, represented by Local 175 of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), began strike action at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, February 13. The main issue these workers are taking a stand on is wages.
“Our members make high quality products that consumers purchase from grocery shelves nation-wide,” said Shawn Haggerty, President of UFCW Local 175. “Highbury Canco should be a leader in this sector and start prioritizing the well-being of its employees who deserve to make good competitive wages.”
- In November last year, the membership voted 99.9% in favour of a strike mandate.
- The parties met in conciliation on three separate days but reached a final impasse on January 20, 2023.
- The company then provided the Union with its final offer on February 8, 2023.
“Our members are looking for significant wage improvements which they more than deserve,” said Sam Caetano, Regional Director at UFCW Local 175. “These workers held strong and worked hard throughout the difficulties of the last several years and they are taking a stand for better compensation and respect, and we have their backs.”
Workers at the plant manufacture tomato-based food and beverage products under a number of brand names. Their previous contract expired at the end of 2022.
Members should see their picket captains when they arrive at the picket line.
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 represent more than 70,000 working people across all sectors of the Ontario economy including industrial manufacturing, health care, retail, food production, meat, and poultry.
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