Maple Leaf Deal Clarifies Duty To Foreign Workers

Anow-ratified labour contract at Maple Leaf Foods’ main pork slaughter and processing plant at Brandon will lay out the company’s obligations to its imported workers, according to their union.

The company’s new five-year deal with over 2,200 Brandon workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 832 offers improvements to pensions, wages, shift premiums and vacation scheduling, the union said in a release Jan. 5.

But Maple Leaf staff working in Brandon under the Foreign Worker Nominee Program now also have contract language that clarifies the company is responsible for processing all the workers’ necessary paperwork, and for providing translators whenever required by foreign workers, the union said.

The new deal, ratified Jan. 4, also requires Toronto-based Maple Leaf to pay for the translation of the labour contract and the employee handbook if there are more than 100 members at Brandon whose first language is not English.

The deal also introduces an “expedited arbitration process” for members under the Foreign Worker Program whose employment is terminated.

Terminated employees represented by the union will be allowed to stay in Manitoba until the arbitrator’s award is received, the union said Jan. 5.

The deal also reclassifies over 200 workers into higher-paying classifications, with increases ranging from 75 cents an hour to over $3 per hour, the union said.

All members will see wage increases of $1.30 to $2.10 over the life of the agreement along with increases to shift premiums, UFCW said.

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