COVID-19 Case Update for UFCW Members
“Yesterday, the Union was informed about an additional four positive cases of COVID-19 among members at the plant, bringing the total up to eight,” said Jeff Traeger, President of UFCW 832. “We are expecting that this number will continue to increase, and we are renewing our call on Maple Leaf to halt production in the Brandon plant until this situation is under control.”
Letter to the Manitoba Government
President Traeger sent a letter to the Minister of Health yesterday morning calling for a public health order to shut the plant down, have it inspected by the public health department, and ensure that all health and safety precautions are being followed.
Manitoba Public Health, Workplace Safety & Health, and the CFIA have all toured the plant yesterday afternoon, and we are looking forward to hearing the results of these inspections.
Can I Refuse to go to Work?
Many of you have called asking if you can refuse to go work, and exercise your Right to Refuse Unsafe Work.
This is not a simple answer, the Government of Manitoba has deemed food production workers as essential, and Public Health monitors the protocols that Maple Leaf has put into place. If they are following these rules to lower the risk, then your workplace is ruled as safe by the Manitoba government, and also as “low-risk” by Public Health.
If you notice that protocols are not being followed properly, then you need to let your union know immediately.
If you do not feel well or have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should follow the proper steps and you should not go to work.
Your Union will continue to call on the plant to do the right thing and halt production until this situation is back under control.
Self-Isolation Pay Clarification
In our previous email, we stated that members would continue to receive pay while self-isolated. We want to clarify what this means:
Any member who is sent home to self-isolate must first apply for the CERB.
- If you are eligible for CERB, then you are topped up to 75% of your gross income upon your return to work.
- If you are not eligible for the CERB, Maple Leaf will still pay you 75% of your gross earnings.
Maple Leaf may request medical documentation, and you will not receive any payment until you return to work, and the payment needs to be approved by Maple Leaf.
The Union believes that you should be 100% paid throughout their self-isolation, and this pay should not be used as an incentive to return to work. Our concern is the safety of all workers, and we will have continue to push Maple Leaf to cease production.
If any member at Maple Leaf Brandon has any additional questions, concerns or information, please contact your union rep at 204-727-7131.