Sunnymel (Olymel-Westco) signs a mutual recognition agreement with local
1288P of the New Brunswick UFCW for its future slaughterhouse at Clair

FREDERICTION, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Representatives of Sunnymel (name of the partnership formed by Olymel l.p. and Westco) and Local 1288 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) have signed a recognition agreement at Fredericton whereby the company undertakes to recognize the UFCW as the sole wage bargaining agent for its future poultry slaughtering, processing, and distribution plant. The union, meanwhile, undertakes to demonstrate its representative character as the sole bargaining agent for the future unit.

"Ratification of this agreement is in keeping with the Sunnymel partnership's plans to build a poultry slaughterhouse at Clair in the Madawaska region, enabling it to achieve farm-to-table integration and strengthen the poultry supply industry, which will serve all of the Maritimes from New Brunswick," noted Sunnymel spokesperson Paul Beauchamp, also First Vice President of Olymel. The mutual recognition agreement will go into effect as soon as the new plant opens.

In the opinion of Jean Guimond, President of Section 1288P of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada), this agreement means a promising outlook for workers in the New Brunswick poultry industry. "By signing this agreement, our union has laid the foundation of a future collaboration with Sunnymel, a new business partnership formed by two companies that have shown a firm will to contribute to economic development and job creation. Our union will do everything possible to ensure that men and women with relevant experience in the New Brunswick poultry industry are hired, so as to create a team that will contribute to the industry's success. These workers will also benefit from stable employment in the Madawaska region," Mr. Guimond added.

A new stage in carrying out the Olymel-Westco project

The partnership formed by Olymel and Westco will thus go ahead with preparations to build its own slaughterhouse. The mutual recognition agreement signed with representatives of UFCW Local 1288P has enabled it to take a big step forward. The building of the Clair facility represents a major investment for the regional economy, job creation and retention, and development of a modern, stronger poultry industry in New Brunswick that will benefit producers, workers and consumers alike.

More than a year ago, Olymel and Westco announced the formation of a business partnership and pooling of their respective experience, as well as plans to integrate their operations from production through to distribution. The two partner companies, which had indicated their intentions to buy out or affiliate with the Nadeau slaughterhouse in St-François-de-Madawaska, were met with several refusals from Nadeau's Ontario based owner, Maple Lodge. The latter has now lost all the appeals against Westco it has made to the Competition Tribunal, the Farm Products Commission and the New Brunswick Court of Appeal. Olymel and Westco recently accepted an offer of mediation from the New Brunswick government, but Maple Lodge has refused to comply except on its own conditions. The obstacles raised by Maple Lodge's attitude have resulted in 175 of its workers being laid off and forced Westco to slaughter its chickens in Québec on a temporary basis.

About Olymel l.p.

Olymel l.p. is a leader in the slaughtering, processing and distribution of pork and poultry meat products in Canada, with facilities in Québec, Ontario, and Alberta. The company employs more than 10,000 persons and exports nearly half its production, mainly to the United States, Japan and Australia, as well as some sixty other countries. Its sales stood at $2.5 billion this year, with a slaughtering and processing capacity of 160,000 hogs and 1.7 million poultry every week. The company markets its products mainly under the Olymel, Lafleur, and Flamingo brands.

About Westco

Groupe Westco inc. is a New Brunswick company with its head office in Saint-François-de- Madawaska. The result of a common vision for expansion by many poultry producers, the company has become a model of success and profitability. Westco owns its own hatcheries, breeding farms, and shipping companies, and is also one of the largest poultry production organizations in Canada. The company has a strong commitment to the community, and sponsors several social programs and contributes to fund-raising initiatives in its region.

SOURCE Olymel l.p.

For further information: For further information: For Olymel l.p.: Richard Vigneault, Communications, (450) 771-0400, Cell.: (514) 497-1385; For Group Westco Inc.: Martin Daraiche, Senior Consultant, NATIONAL Public relations, (418) 648-1233 ext. 230, Cell.: (418) 571-8528

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