Cargill union's strike plan imperils 40% of Canada's beef supply
Beef prices in North America are soaring amid global supply chain snarls, and now a labor dispute could inject even more uncertainty into the market.
A union representing thousands of workers at a Cargill Inc. beef plant in Alberta gave official notice on Wednesday of a strike starting Dec. 6 following two days of negotiations. The strike could take the form of a complete work stoppage or refusal to work overtime or some shifts.
The move comes as beef touches record prices in the northern nation, and it’s the latest example of workers flexing newfound leverage in a company critical to food supply chains. The facility in High River is the largest in the country and accounts for roughly 40 per cent of Canada’s beef processing capacity. If workers strike, Canadian consumers could see a drop in packaged beef on store shelves as well as more “meatflation.” Farmers will also likely have to hold onto their animals longer, which increases production costs.
Cargill spokesman Daniel Sullivan said in an email Thursday that the company and union exchanged multiple proposals over the last two days that included increased wages “well beyond the industry standard,” enhanced benefits and cash bonus opportunities.