Closure agreement and date reached for Leamington Heinz workers
A closure agreement has been reached for Heinz workers in Leamington.
According to UFCW Canada Local 0459 president, Robert Crawford, workers will receive two weeks’ pay for every year of service, with no cap.
The agreement also includes 52 weeks of health care, a productivity bonus of $2,500 and the assurance that no layoffs will take place prior to May. The union says they were able to secure $50,000 for benefits for workers retiring this year.
“Workers are relieved the process is over,” Crawford says.
At the same time, Heinz says “constructive” discussions took place over the past couple of days with the union. Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs, Michael Mullen, says “the company and UFCW agreed to a comprehensive and generous closure agreement.”
A closure date has also been announced. June 27 will be the last day for the Heinz plant in Leamington.
“It has been hard, but we're dealing with it,” says Crawford. “Everyone’s keeping their chin up and going to work every day and we will every day until June 27th.”
“It sounds like Heinz has followed through on their word,” says Leamington Mayor John Paterson.
Paterson is looking to have a conversation with the Heinz in the future. He remains optimistic that something can replace the void the closure will cause.
“I wish there wasn't a closure date, but there is. That reality we have to face,” says Paterson. “I remain optimistic. We're an agricultural source. People have to eat; food has to be processed.”