About 85 workers at Donald’s Fine Foods voted to join UFCW 1518 this week, severing their association with the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC).
CLAC is an anti-union organization that purports to be a union but undercuts industry-standard wages and working conditions that the labour movement has fought to improve. In British Columbia, CLAC has helped employers circumvent the Employment Standards Act by “negotiating collective agreement provisions that are below the minimum standards” of the law [source]. CLAC is a considered a “company union”, favouring “accommodationist organizing strategies that undermine workers and other unions” [source].
“CLAC had almost five years to do right by these workers – and they didn’t. Now we have the chance to provide them with the representation they deserve, and an organizing model that’s geared towards helping members enforce the collective agreement,” said lead organizer Abby Leung. Under CLAC, Leung explained, members were not allowed to file grievances and only one grievance was ever taken to arbitration.
Workers at Donald’s Fine Foods, a meat distribution and processing plant located on Mitchell Island, join their colleagues at sister companies Britco Pork, a boutique pork operation also organized by UFCW 1518, and Vantage Foods, represented by UFCW 247. “Becoming part of the UFCW family means these members have greater bargaining power,” Leung added. “They will be looking to the Britco collective agreement for improvements to their own contract in the next round of negotiations.”
President Ivan Limpright welcomed UFCW 1518’s newest members and promised the union’s full support. “When it comes to fighting for fairness, we don’t back down,” he said. “We always start with diplomacy but we’re not shy of conflict. Whatever it takes, we’re prepared to fight for the best interest of our members.”