500,000-Member Retirees' Group Joins Carnival Cruise Boycott

OTTAWA, March 5, 2014 /CNW/ - The 500,000-member Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) is endorsing a boycott of Carnival Cruises to protest the role of Carnival's chief executive in a six-month labour dispute in Toronto.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald is a key director of U.S.-based manufacturing giant Crown Holdings. Crown Holdings provoked a strike at its Toronto factory last September by demanding major concessions from employees, including a two-tier wage plan that would permanently cut new and younger workers' wages by up to $9/hour. 

The CURC has joined the 195,000-member Toronto and York Region Labour Council, which announced last month it was boycotting Carnival cruises to protest Donald's role in the Crown Holdings labour dispute.

"We are sending a strong message with this boycott," said CURC President Pat Kerwin.

"Carnival CEO Arnold Donald knows that his business relies on decent wages, pensions and vacation time that allow workers and seniors to take cruises. Yet, in his role as a Crown Holdings director, Donald is supporting an attack on workers and pensioners. He wants to permanently slash wages for young workers and keep pensions low for existing workers who have been making sacrifices for years to help their employer," Kerwin said.

"We want Carnival's CEO to know Canadian union retirees won't be taking his cruises unless he acts to offer Crown workers a fair deal."

The United Steelworkers (USW), which represents striking employees at the Crown Holdings' Toronto plant, has launched a campaign to expose members of Crown's board of directors and hold them accountable for the company's behaviour.

"Union retirees represent a good part of Carnival's business, so CURC's decision to boycott Carnival is crucial and we applaud it," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"There are literally tens of thousands of retirees who could afford to take Carnival's cruises because of decent union pensions. Carnival stands to lose a lot of customers here, and even more as we expand the boycott," Neumann said.

Arnold Donald, as a member of the compensation committee of Crown's board, approved paying Crown's CEO a compensation package equivalent to $6,000 per hour with lucrative executive retirement benefits, while remaining silent as the company slashed wages and benefits of workers throughout North America.

Carnival Corporation is the world's largest cruise company and operates ships under the Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Cunard, Aida, Ibero, P&O, Seabourn and Costa brands. All brands are covered under the boycott.

In addition to boycotting the cruise company, CURC is asking its members to send letters to Arnold Donald via an online campaign, at www.usw.ca/labourstart. To date, nearly 7,000 letters have been sent.

For more information about the campaign, as well as videos and other materials, see www.TakeBacksNoMore.ca.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Pat Kerwin, CURC President, patjkerwin@gmail.com; Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-570-9984, aeshelman@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca