Alberta meat processing workers win 11.5% pay raise

The mediated new collective agreement comes after several years of wage freezes.

Back in February, meat processing workers in the small town of Trochu, Alberta, settled on a collective agreement with their employer, Trochu Meat Processors Ltd., which is a division of Sunterra Group.

The 80 workers covered by this new collective agreement are represented by Local 401 of the United Commercial and Food Workers. The Trochu workers joined UFCW in 2014, but didn’t get their first collective agreement until the middle of 2016.

This new collective agreement is only the third one these workers have negotiated and comes on the heels of 3 years of wage freezes, in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

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With their new collective agreement, these meat processing workers will receive a 7% increase retroactive to 1 January 2023, a 2% increase as of 1 January 2024, and a 2.5% increase as of 1 January 2025.

Their previous collective agreement expired at the end of 2021, and the new collective agreement is effective only as of 2023. Presumably, this means a possible wage freeze in 2022, as well, making for 4 years of wage freezes.

Because the previous agreement expired on 31 December 2021, negotiations went on for months, beginning after June last year, and eventually had to go into mediation.

The new agreement will last for 36 months, expiring at the end of 2025.

On a related note, there were 110 workers employed in Trochu when they ratified their first agreement, which means 30 of them have lost their job in the 7 years.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

One reply on “Alberta meat processing workers win 11.5% pay raise”

The pay raise will surely help, but it doesn’t take into account the PTSD, heightened rates of domestic abuse, addiction, depression, and high suicide rates that come with violently killing vulnerable animals who don’t want to die 40 hours a week.

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