GUELPH, ONTARIO — As the strike of nearly 1,000 workers at the Cargill Dunlop beef facility continues, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 175 and company representatives were scheduled to meet on July 2.

“We are focused on putting an end to this labor disruption and welcoming our employees back to work. We look forward to discussing the possibility of doing so during today’s talks,” a Cargill spokesperson said to MEAT+POULTRY.

In early negotiations, the union asked for an increase in pay because of the higher cost of living and to maintain some pay increases that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Cattle Association (CCA), National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) and Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) pushed for the two sides to reach an agreement on June 24.

The Cargill Dunlop facility supports several regional brands and programs and processes approximately 75% of the cattle in Ontario. The plant also fills 67% of eastern Canada’s federally inspected processing capacity.

To mitigate the effects of the strike, Ontario beef producers have been sourcing alternative facilities in Canada and the United States to process their cattle and have been keeping cattle on farm for a more extended period.