Forcing Maple Leaf workers into weekend overtime is the wrong thing to do right now

Due to animal welfare concerns, Maple Leaf will be forcing hundreds of workers to come in this Saturday, August 21, 2020, and work a shift of overtime.

“Forcing overtime, is the absolute wrong thing to do right now, it’s only making matters worse inside the plant,” stated Jeff Traeger, President of UFCW Local 832. “If the plant isn’t going to halt production, the least Maple Leaf can do is respect the fact that the extra stress and anxiety is taking its toll, and now Maple Leaf is forcing employees to come in for even more shifts.”

As of this morning, Maple Leaf now has 70 total positive cases of COVID-19 among workers. UFCW 832 has been calling on Maple Leaf to halt production for at least a week or until the situation is under control, but the Union has also been pushing for the company to not schedule production on Saturdays. Workers are scared to go to work each day as the number of COVID cases related to their workplace continues to increase.

“Maple Leaf has had the right to mandate overtime since they opened in Brandon. But Brandon has been placed in a code orange in accordance with the Manitoba provincial risk level. Now is not the time to mandate additional overtime,” stated Traeger.

The Union has sent a new letter to the Minister of Health today, calling for a halt in production until case numbers stop increasing, and demanding further follow-up inspections by public health.

UFCW 832 Represents 2000 workers at the Maple Leaf plant in Brandon.