Over 7,000 Cargill workers who are members of UFCW Locals 2, 293 and 540 recently ratified strong, new contracts that include better wages and benefits. The workers are employed at Cargill plants in Kansas, Texas and Nebraska.
The UFCW negotiated a $2 per hour temporary wage increase for Cargill workers from March 23 to May 5 as part of the effort to increase pay and other benefits for essential workers during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The new contract makes the $2/hour increase permanent through the rest of the 5-year agreement. In addition to the permanent $2 per hour raise, the workers will also receive a $6 per hour temporary raise in response to the ongoing health crisis through August 31, 2020, and short term disability benefits are significantly strengthened.
With Cargill as the third largest meat producer in the United States, the UFCW hopes the victory will help pave the way for raising standards in the entire industry.
“The $2 permanent wage increase and enhanced benefits represent a significant breakthrough for our members at Cargill,” said UFCW International Vice President and Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division Director and IUF President Mark Lauritsen. “Our union will push other meatpacking and food processing employers to follow Cargill’s lead with the goal of raising standards for all workers in this industry.”
“These increases help define essential workers as valued and important to our communities rather than disposable, and we hope that more employers, in not only meat packing but in all essential industries, will recognize this and follow suit.”