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Every Canadian is now watching Cargill. Meatpacking plant to reopen despite pleas from union

'The numbers don’t lie. If Cargill doesn’t act to salvage their reputation, no one is going to buy their beef' — UFCW

The union representing workers at the Cargill Ltd. meatpacking plant in High River, Alta., issued a scathing note to members late Sunday after marathon talks with the company failed to reach a deal to postpone the plant’s reopening.

The plant is set to reopen Monday, two weeks after Cargill paused operations in the wake of what became the largest COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, with nearly half of its 2,000 employees testing positive for the virus.

The union, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401, has been engaged in an intense campaign to stop the reopening. Negotiations with Cargill pushed late into Sunday evening, but a resolution was not reached, the union said.

“Let there be no confusion: we have made every attempt to work with Cargill to resolve things and make your workplace safe,” UFCW said in a note to its members who work at Cargill. “Unfortunately, the situation has not been resolved. At this moment, we have been unable to convince any government or legal authority to have the courage to step in and ensure the plant remains closed until safety is assured.”