UFCW 1006A has won a major case, worth upwards of $1.5 million, at the Ontario Labour Relations Board on behalf of our former members at Ryding Regency Meat Packers Ltd.
The decision comes after a difficult multi-year battle at the Labour Board and impacts members, who were working at the company when it closed on September 2019.
“This victory is a testament to the collective power of the union to fight for and protect workers’ rights under their union contract and the Employment Standards Act,” said President Wayne Hanley. “UFCW 1006A continues to be steadfast and relentless in our efforts to hold the employer accountable and ensure our former members receive the compensation that is owed to them.”
This January, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that Ryding Regency, TruHarvest, Tri-Pet Holdings and a numbered company are one employer and are jointly responsible for the more than $1.5 million that our members are owed for termination pay and severance pay.
UFCW 1006A legal counsel have already taken steps to commence the process for collecting the money, which will be held in trust until it is distributed to the affected members.
“This was a lengthy and difficult battle and I’m proud of our exceptional team, including our union staff and legal counsel, for their hard work in defending our members’ rights and collectively standing up for justice for our members at Ryding Regency,” said President Hanley.
UFCW has represented workers at Ryding Regency since 1995. In 2019, Ryding closed its doors. When the owners refused to pay notice of termination or severance to our members, Local 1006A filed a grievance and advanced it to arbitration to ensure that our members’ rights under their union contract and the Employment Standards were honoured. Prior to bankruptcy, the leadership was involved in creating a new company, TruHarvest, to carry-on the same business, at the same location and re-hiring many of the same workers. The union’s position to the Labour Board has been that Ryding Regency, TruHarvest Meats and two other associated companies, Tri-Pet Holdings and a numbered company were one employer for the purposes of the Employment Standards Act.
The union won the arbitration, with an order that Ryding Regency pay a total in excess of $1.5 million as notice and severance pay to all affected employees.
“We never stopped fighting for our members, even though the employer tried several times to evade responsibility and avoid paying workers what they were rightfully owed,” said President Hanley. “Without union representation, workers would be at the whim of employers and have no recourse when their rights are violated."
After opening, TruHarvest, refused to honour the previous collective agreement, did not pay for benefits or proper overtime, did not honour our members’ guaranteed hours of work and other contract provisions. 1006A is proceeding to another arbitration to seek additional compensation for their violation of our members’ rights. TruHarvest ceased operations in January 2023.
This case is unique because the Labour Board declared that Tri-Pet, a holding company, was a common employer under the Employment Standards Act. Holding companies are used for tax purposes to own things like land, buildings and machinery and as a result, as a common employer, steps can be taken to seize the land, building and equipment owned by Tri-Pet.
1006A is asking members, who worked at Ryding Regency at the time of its closure to provide their current contact information (address, phone number and email address) so we can pass on the information to the Ministry of Labour, who is responsible for ensuring members will be paid once the funds are collected.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your union rep.