Our Cargill Case-Ready Bargaining Committee

In two days of voting on July 8th and 9th on a final offer from Cargill, UFCW Local 401 members at Calgary’s Cargill Case-Ready plant have ratified the new agreement with a 74% vote in favour. It’s the successful result of hard-fought negotiations in which the Cargill Case-Ready membership took the company to the brink without flinching. Following an historic 100% strike vote and the service of strike notice, the company finally tabled an offer that showed enough movement on key demands for the members to accept.

The offer was not everything the members wanted, but members have judged it to be preferable to a protracted strike. UFCW Local 401 congratulates our members both for their steadfast courage and their careful consideration in exercising their right to decide on a settlement.

“Bargaining with Cargill can be much like trying to squeeze water from a rock,” said President Thomas Hesse of UFCW Local 401. “Through the bargaining process, we did absolutely everything we could to squeeze out every last drop, and I want to thank the members for staying strong and showing Cargill their fighting spirit.”

“We owe a special thanks to the members of the Bargaining Committee,” added Richelle Stewart, Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 401. “They took risks and showed courage in confronting their employer through a process that included multiple rounds of bargaining and mediation, and eventually brought us to the brink of strike action, over a span of eighteen months.”

“The deal shows some real improvements for the membership,” said Chris O’Halloran, Executive Director at UFCW Local 401. “Our members’ hard fight made it possible to bring about a new agreement that, even if it’s not all they wanted and deserved, nevertheless provides several important wins.”

Among many improvements, the new agreement offers a rapid three dollar an hour wage increase with more money coming thereafter, the introduction of a guaranteed work week for many employees, and a full-time Walking Steward paid for by the company to provide Union representation inside the plant.

Most Union members received very substantial retroactive pay, with some receiving as much as $6,000. It’s the sort of money that can provide substantial relief from bills that have and continue to pile up.


Collective bargaining is a powerful tool in the fight to stop the squeeze of the affordability crisis. It can have a serious impact on the flow of money coming into the household, which can provide greater peace of mind for working families.

That said, any wage increase in and of itself is never going to be enough to fully address the rising cost of living. it’s only one part of the picture, and there are other important steps in the battle against the affordability crisis.

“The demonstrated strength of our members offers hope that we’re on the right track,” said President Hesse of Local 401. “But we also know there’s much more work to be done, not just in our workplaces but in our society as a whole.”

“We need to speak boldly to policymakers in government and in business,” said Secretary Treasurer Stewart. “And demand controls on the skyrocketing costs of rent, groceries, electricity and car insurance. We need the kinds of measures that cut back on what families are being asked to spend.”

As UFCW Local 401 carries forward the Stop the Squeeze campaign, we will continue to provide our members with information and concrete ideas for action that will get the attention of decision-makers. You can sign up to be part of the campaign at our website. 


Your Union will be working with the plant management to implement the new provisions in the collective agreement over the coming weeks. Please watch for a posting of the Walking Steward position.

If you have questions about the ratification or the new agreement, contact Alain Mendoza (e-mail: or Devin Yeager (e-mail:, cell: 403-680-4184).

In solidarity,

Your Union
UFCW Local 401