Strike vote coming at Highbury Canco

Tomatoes at Highbury Canco ready to be processed. (BlackburnNews photo)

Saying the union is “asking for dollars, and the company is offering pennies,” Sam Caetano with the United Food and Commercial Workers is waiting for a conciliator to join talks between it and Highbury Canco.

“We are very, very far apart,” said Caetano, a regional director for UFCW, which represents about 800 workers at the Leamington plant.

The Ministry of Labour appointed a conciliator, but the two sides are still waiting for those talks to start.

Wages are the main sticking point between the two sides.

The last contract at Highbury Canco expired almost 11 months ago.

On Saturday, the workers will vote whether to give their union a strike mandate to back demands at the bargaining table. The strike vote starts at 10 a.m. at the Leamington Portuguese Club on Talbot Street West.

Highbury Canco purchased the plant in 2014 after Heinz announced it would shutter it more than a century after it began operations in Leamington.