Our Members at Work: Highbury Canco
In April 2016, UFCW Locals 175 & 633 was proud to welcome Local 459 members in a merger agreement.
This agreement saw the hardworking people from Cavendish, Milo-FAIS, and Highbury Canco (formerly the Heinz plant) join our growing Union family.
That number has increased since that time due to:
- higher production volume at Highbury Canco, and;
- the steady hiring that has taken place as a result.
The 400 members at Highbury Canco in Leamington work in an almost 2,000,000 square-foot facility. There you can find early-1900s technology mixed with state-of-the-art equipment. Products manufactured at the plant include:
- tomato paste,
- kidney beans,
- pork and beans,
- seafood sauce,
- tomato juice,
- pizza sauce,
- Spaghettios, and;
- many other tomato-based items, including Heinz products.
French’s gets its tomato paste from the Leamington facility. All the tomatoes used at the plant are from farms in Leamington and the surrounding area.
Members are involved in every aspect of work at the plant in both the production and warehouse sections, with jobs ranging from processing to quality assurance, cooking and packaging to shipping.
“Since the merger our great group of Stewards have been there for the Members every day to enforce their collective agreement,” said Servicing Representative Fred Teeple. “Our Stewards are knowledgeable and work very hard on
behalf of their many co-workers at the plant. It’s a great team and I really enjoy working with them.”
Christine Darowski is the Chief Steward. “She is a vigilant and dedicated leader in the workplace,” explained Fred. “The Members and Union are fortunate to have her as a Steward.”
The membership at Highbury Canco was faced with a tragedy last summer when two of their co-workers, Lori and Colin Jackson, were killed in a vehicular accident. They had two children and three grandchildren.
“I’ve been so impressed at the support we get from this Local,” said Christine. “From the CAN picnic they put on in Windsor to the training that is offered, how they helped the Jackson family, and the fact that our Rep is in this facility every week, whether it’s to deal with grievances and issues or just to shake hands and talk to members. We greatly appreciate the commitment.”
“We are happy to see a growth in employment and the use of local produce at Highbury Canco,” said President Haggerty. “Our communities need this kind of investment from employers to ensure longevity and prosperity for employees and their families.”