How UFCW can help meat plant employees achieve a better work life

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May 1, 2020

Are you a meat plant employee?

Meat factory employees do better when unionizedWorkers at Canada’s meat plants keep our supply chain moving. They make sure Canadians can find the food they need every day – even through a pandemic.

You are a front-line worker. You feed our families, our friends, our neighbours, and communities.

Employment in the meat industry comes with a number of challenges. From health and safety hazards going unchecked, and wages far below the industry standard, to company policies on mandatory overtime, and more. Plus, many non-Union meat plant employees make, on average, $3 to $4 less per hour than the industry standard.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic created even further reason for health and safety and good compensation to be a priority in these facilities.

UFCW Local 175 represents more than 6,300 workers across the poultry, beef, and pork processing industries in Ontario. Our Union Representatives have extensive experience negotiating collective agreements for these members. In total, we represent more than 70,000 working people across the province – and that strength and power helps us achieve some of the best collective agreements in many industries.

If you want to talk about how your wages or other working conditions compare to the wages in Union collective agreements for other meat plant employees, reach out to one of our Organizers for a confidential discussion by email at or by phone at 1-800-565-8329

Just Cause Protection

One of the first building blocks of a Union collective agreement is just cause protection. Basically, just cause means that the employer must have reasonable grounds to fire you – they can’t just decide on a whim or because of favouritism.

You can read more about just cause protection here. If employees covered by the collective agreement are fired, they have the ability to file a grievance.

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If you want to talk about how your wages or other working conditions compare to the wages in Union collective agreements, reach out to one of our Organizers for a confidential talk at or by phone at 1-800-565-8329.

Grievance & Arbitration

Beef and pork processing employees can gain the Union advantage.As a member of UFCW Local 175, your collective agreement includes a way to file a formal complaint when the employer violates your rights under the agreement – it’s called a Grievance and Arbitration procedure. The grievance process allows employees to have a Union Steward and Union Representative take that complaint to the employer to discuss and resolve.

If a resolution can’t be reached between the employer and the Union, the Union can then push that complaint to the Arbitration process where an independent third-party Arbitrator will hear both sides and decide on a solution.

Negotiating Your First Collective Agreement

Once you join UFCW Local 175, you’ll have the opportunity to elect a negotiating committee made up of your co-workers, and make proposals on what you want to see improved or changed at work.

The language in a collective agreement can vary from industry to industry. You can take a look at some of the contracts ratified by other meat plant employees who are members of UFCW Local 175.

So, for example, your proposals for improvements might include:

  • Better wages and shift premiums;
  • Safety boot and tool allowances;
  • Dental, prescription drug, and vision care coverage;
  • Pension or Group RRSPs (learn more about retirement here);
  • Seniority provisions;
  • Hours of work, overtime, and scheduling;
  • Job Classifications;
  • Line Speed;
  • Vacations and work-life balance;
  • Bereavement leave and other job-protected leaves of absence;
  • Union Steward representation (find out more about the role of the Union Steward);
  • And more.

Ready to speak to one of our Organizers? Send our Team an email at or call 1-800-565-8329.

Meat industry workers can gain the Union advantage

Plus, there may be situations unique to meat plant employees where you work, too. Those can also be addressed and improved through negotiation.

The proposal and negotiation process takes place every few years depending on the term of the collective agreement negotiated by your Committee.

If you have questions about how a Union contract could make things better in your workplace, our Organizers are ready to have a confidential talk with you! You can call our team at 1-800-565-8329, or if you’re more comfortable, you can reach out by email at

What are some of the other benefits of your UFCW Local 175 membership?

Are you on social media?

Visit our Facebook or Instagram pages to see features on our Union Stewards and Members and more. You can also check us out on Twitter.