A message of solidarity from Local 401 leadership…

A cartoonist’s portrayal of Cargill during the pandemic.

Solidarity with Cargill workers in Ontario

Cargill employees in Ontario will be going on strike at midnight tonight to Stop the Squeeze and fight for what is right during these challenging economic times.
What does solidarity mean?
The word solidarity is often bandied about, especially by those in the labour movement. But what does it mean?
Solidarity is not individualism or self-interest. It is never cynical or negative. Solidarity is always optimistic and hopeful. It is about unity, altruism, and caring for each other.
Solidarity forms bonds. In the workplace, without these bonds, workers are alone and vulnerable.
“Cargill workers in Ontario will not be alone,” says UFCW Local 401 President Thomas Hesse. “Local 401 will be with them.”
“Every available resource of our local union will be utilized to support this strike,” adds Secretary Treasurer Richelle Stewart.
What is the strike about?
Cargill employs approximately 1,000 workers at its Guelph Plant, slaughtering and processing cattle. If you Google “Cargill” you will find an entity described as “the worst company in the world.”
Cargill is a multi-billion-dollar giant owned by an exceedingly private family of billionaires.

Local 401 and Cargill

You will recall that our local union had to engage in massive protests to have the Cargill High River Plant closed during the pandemic when the Company failed to keep employees safe.
The High River Plant witnessed the largest COVID outbreak in North America involving tragic worker deaths.
We now face an affordability crisis in this nation. The Cargill strike in Ontario is about money. Simply put, workers need more of it to survive — and Cargill can afford to pay more.
When we fight, we win. When we fight together, we most certainly win.
This strike could be at a cutting edge for UFCW members across Canada. Soon, we will be taking a strike vote at Cargill Case Ready in Calgary. The issues facing Case Ready workers are similar to those in Ontario, revolving around wages and compensation.
There is an economic desperation in this country and workers need to be able to afford a decent standard of living.
Solidarity demands that we stand with every worker who has the courage to fight back in any way. They need us right now and we will need them when it is time for our fight with Cargill.
Stopping the Squeeze now and in the future
We are preparing for bargaining at Safeway, Superstore, Olymel, JBS, and many other workplaces.
Unfortunately, arguments and morality are often not persuasive when it comes to employers doing the right thing. Too frequently, workers must refuse to come to work and go on strike to garner the leverage they need.
Please standby if you work in a unionized retail grocery store like Safeway or Superstore. A strike at Cargill in Alberta will mean that protesters will be standing in front of any retail operation selling Cargill products.

As union members and workers, we ask that you join in solidarity with all union initiatives bringing pressure on employers and governments to ease the affordability crisis and Stop the Squeeze that every worker is feeling.
We’d like to hear your feelings about solidarity.

Please take a couple of seconds to fill out our Cargill solidarity survey here.

In solidarity,
Thomas Hesse, President
Richelle Stewart, Secretary Treasurer
UFCW Local 401