VALLEE-JONCTION, Quebec — Over 250 striking meatpackers, members of the Union of Olymel Workers at Vallee-Jonction, marched here May 24 protesting their treatment by the bosses. Some 1,000 union meatpackers walked out when the employers refused to show up for contract talks April 28. The previous agreement expired March 30.
The workers received another slap in the face May 18 when the bosses demanded workers agree to major concessions on health, safety, vacations and contracting out the sanitation shift. The Olymel chain is the biggest pork producer in Canada.
“For us, it is another insult, another flagrant lack of respect which shows that Olymel has no intention at all of resolving this conflict,” responded union President Martin Maurice that day.
Also on May 18, the government of Quebec publicly showed its support for the bosses, announcing it was investing 150 million Canadian dollars ($125 million) in the company.
The union is demanding to get back a 38% wage cut imposed in 2007 when Olymel threatened to close the plant.
“I support the strikers because I know what the conditions are like,” Marc Lamoureux, a retired mechanic at the Vachon pastry factory in nearby St-Marie, told the Militant on his doorstep. The meatpacking plant bosses are notorious for the number of injuries caused by the high line speed.
Solidarity messages and contributions can be sent to Syndicat des Travailleurs d’Olymel, Vallee-Jonction, 243 Rue Principale, Vallee-Jonction, QC G0S 3J0.