Thousands Worldwide Condemn Crown Holdings' Attacks on Workers

Global campaign denounces manufacturing giant's strikebreaking and union-busting activities from Canada to Turkey

TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Over 7,000 people have joined a global campaign to resist manufacturing giant Crown Holdings' attacks on its employees' working and living standards.

The Take-Backs No More campaign has been launched in support of Crown Holdings employees in Toronto who are fighting back against the U.S.-based multinational's latest demands for concessions.

More than 7,000 supporters have signed on to an Internet-based campaign, sending letters to Crown Holdings CEO John Conway demanding he put a stop to the attacks on workers.

Crown's Toronto employees, members of the United Steelworkers, have been on strike since Sept. 6 to resist the company's demands for lower wages for new workers and elimination of cost-of-living allowances.

"We have drawn a line in the sand on these take-backs," said Fred Redmond, International Vice-President of the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents the Toronto employees.

"We are standing up for all Crown workers around the world who have given so much to make this corporation successful but have received little in return," Redmond said.

Crown is one of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage containers. It has 149 plants and operations in 41 countries. 

Crown is trying to drive down employees' working and living standards even though the company nearly doubled its profits last year and gave its CEO a $12-million compensation package.

Crown's Toronto employees manufacture more than five million cans per day. Earlier this year Crown recognized the Toronto workers with an award for "dedication, commitment, teamwork and personal accountability" and for meeting or exceeding company expectations for "safety, productivity, quality and budget management."

However, rather than negotiating a fair contract with its Toronto employees, Crown has recruited strikebreakers from its non-union operations in Calgary, further inflaming the labour dispute it provoked.

With support from allies including the international labour federation IndustriALL, the USW plans to expand a global campaign against Crown's attacks on employees' living standards, Redmond said.

The campaign also will support Crown workers in Turkey, whose union Birlesik Metal-IS has been subjected to the company's union-busting tactics since 2012. 

The global campaign also is targeting members of Crown's board of directors, who bear responsibility for the company's continued attacks on workers.

Letters have been sent to Crown board members such as Donald Arnold, CEO of Carnival Corporation, which has been immersed in controversies over the Costa Corcordia disaster and other major mishaps on its cruise lines.

Other labour organizations joining the campaign against Crown Holdings include Unite, the largest union in the United Kingdom, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the International Union of Food Workers.

For more information on the campaign against Crown Holdings, visit www.usw.ca/CrownHoldings.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca
Fred Redmond, USW International Vice-President, 412-562-2307
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca