New Report Criticizes Corporate Governance at Crown Holdings Inc.

TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - A new report outlining corporate governance problems at Crown Holdings Inc. has been published by the United Steelworkers (USW) which represents workers at Crown plants in the U.S. and Canada.

Issues highlighted in the USW report include:

  • Excessive executive compensation
  • Under-representation of women on Crown's board of directors
  • A conflict of interest created by a joint CEO/board chairman
  • Inadequate performance-based pay incentives
  • Lucrative retirement benefits for company executives who are trying to impose cuts on the company's lowest-paid workers

Problems with Crown Holdings' executive pay system were underscored in a recent letter from the AFL-CIO to Hans Löliger, a Crown board member and chairman of its compensation committee.

"Crown Holdings' executives were paid 4.7% of the company's net income for 2012, an excessive amount by almost any standard," the USW report states.

In 2013, 43% of Crown shareholders voted against the Board of Directors advisory resolution on executive pay.

The USW is particularly concerned with lucrative pay and retirement benefits offered to Crown executives in light of continued efforts to cut wages and benefits at Crown plants. 

Crown forced USW members on strike in September 2013 at its profitable plant in Toronto after demanding wage cuts as high as $9 per hour and providing no pension increase in the last nine years.

The USW conducts research on employers with whom the union has collective bargaining relationships for the purpose of assessing corporate governance practices. The union believes substandard corporate governance practices can lead to poor performance, which can have adverse effects on workers and shareholders.

The USW report and AFL-CIO letter can be found at www.takebacksnomore.ca

Crown has 149 plants in 41 countries and 21,900 employees. Approximately 12,000 of Crown's employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and represents over 800,000 members.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca