ALBERTVILLE, ALA. – Workers at a Wayne Farms poultry processing plant rejected a collective bargaining agreement that would have given them a pay increase. Local news reports state the company offered third shift workers a $3 raise, second shift workers a $2 raise and first shift workers a raise of $1.10.

Workers on the first shift at the plant in Albertville, Ala., staged a walkout ahead of the Dec. 1 vote on a new collective bargaining agreement. The workers are demanding higher pay and better treatment.

Frank Singleton, company spokeperson, said the company expected a majority of the employees to approve the agreement. After the vote, the company plans to continue operating under the existing contract extension. The union will provide options for further negotiation dates. Meanwhile, the plant is operating.

“The labor shortage has impacted Wayne Farms like every other business, and we’ve had to schedule some overtime and weekend shifts at our Albertville facility as a result, in order to keep our plant running and our customers happy,” Singleton said. “This has prompted a group of impacted workers to walk off the production floor this morning.

“Over the past few weeks, we have been in negotiations to renew the collective bargaining agreement with employee union representatives and resolving the issues of overtime and shift pay differential has been a central component of the collective bargaining process. Through unanimous vote of the negotiating committee, we have tentatively agreed on a proposed shift pay differential, which we believe will accommodate their needs and still meet the requirements of our customers.”