By Dan RitchieThe Canadian Dairy Association is in a pickle.
A union of dairy producers, the CDA is refusing to renew its contract with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, saying the agency’s decision not to renew the agency contract will cost them billions of dollars in annual sales and damage their livelihoods.
The CDA’s chief executive officer, Mark D’Antonio, made the announcement Tuesday in a letter to CFIA board members.
The union had planned to renew with the agency on Oct. 1.
Instead, D’Aonio announced the CEA is in its second-straight strike and will be off the job for up to six weeks.
“In the face of such a serious, significant and unjustifiable threat, the Board and our members have determined that the CCA will be the sole bargaining representative on behalf of its members,” D’Anonio wrote in the letter.
“The Board has taken the necessary action to protect the health and safety of its employees.”
The letter also said the CFA is in the midst of negotiating a new contract.
The CDA said it is not negotiating with the CFOA, which has already rejected the CBA’s contract offer.
The agency said it has no plans to restart the process.
“The Board and its members have consistently and vehemently defended our right to strike, and we remain committed to achieving our goals through bargaining,” the agency said in a statement.
The CFIA said the agency was not the union’s bargaining agent and the agency is not legally bound to negotiate a contract with its bargaining agent.
The Canadian dairy industry has been in a stalemate with the CFIA for years over food safety, including a dispute over labelling and the use of artificial sweeteners.
The dairy sector has been at loggerheads with the federal government, the provinces, and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec over food labelling.