TNG Canada/CWA

TNG Canada/CWA

March 02, 2005 09:00 ET

Guild accuses Schneider Foods of breaking Ontario law

Company employing Wal-Mart tactics in refusing to bargain with head-office staff Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 2, 2005) - Schneider Foods Corp. is breaking provincial law by refusing to negotiate a new contract with its office employees in Kitchener, TNG Canada/CWA contends in a complaint filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

The company has brought no concrete proposals to the bargaining table since its collective agreement with the Schneider Office Employees' Association (SOEA), Local 30009 of TNG Canada/CWA, expired on Oct. 31, 2004. The two sides will be in a strike/lockout position or "open period" as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 7.

Art Lacroix, president of the 166-member SOEA, says management has adopted Wal-Mart tactics and deliberately manoeuvred itself into an "open position" so that it can impose terms and conditions on employees.

Arnold Amber, Director of TNG Canada, says the company's stonewalling is what led to the bad-faith bargaining complaint. "We contend that an employer must bargain wages, benefits, pensions and other terms of a collective agreement. It's against the law in Ontario not to," says Amber. "We hope the Board will uphold the challenge, decide that the open period was arrived at unfairly, and will order the company back to the bargaining table."

Management appears to be flouting Schneider's much-touted company values, including "integrity, fairness and ethics in all business dealings."

"We've been beaten with that, over and over," says Lacroix. "This company claims to be ethical. They can't even abide by the law."

Furthermore, he says, it appears that Maple Leaf Foods Inc., which took over Schneider Foods last spring, is calling the shots in Kitchener and "we're seeing more and more Wal-Mart type tactics."

Lacroix says he believes that Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain's corporate hero is Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. The American retailing behemoth came under international fire last month when it announced it would close one of its stores in Quebec where employees had six months earlier joined a union. It was the first unionized Wal-Mart store in the world, but the company refused to negotiate a collective agreement.

At Schneider, says Lacroix, four bargaining sessions and two meetings with a conciliator yielded little but requests by the company for a No Board Report, which was finally granted.

A survey of Guild members, who include administrative, finance, information technology and clerical workers, revealed their biggest concerns, in the face of the company merger with Maple Leaf, are job security and severance packages.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Arnold Amber
Director, TNG Canada/CWA
director@tngcanada.org
416-205-7847

Art Lacroix
President, Schneider Office Employees' Association
schneider@tngcanada.org
519-572-6663

/For further information: www.TNGCanada.org/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Arnold Amber, Director, The National Guild of Canadian Media, Manufacturing, Professional & Service Workers / CWA
    Primary Phone: 416-205-7847
    E-mail: director@tngcanada.org