Be Wary of Quality, Supply Problems with Cans Manufactured by Crown Holdings, Steelworkers Warn

Molson Coors, Labatt, Cott, Morgan Foods and other customers put on notice.

TORONTO, March 18, 2014 /CNW/ - Beverage and food producers receiving cans from Crown Holdings' Toronto factory should be wary of potential supply and quality problems, the United Steelworkers (USW) warns.

USW National Director Ken Neumann has sent letters to Crown Holdings' customers, including beer and soft drink producers, warning of the impact of Crown's failure to settle a six-month labour dispute at the Toronto plant.

"With demand for Crown's cans set to increase for the spring and summer seasons, the company should be trying to settle this dispute and bring its skilled and experienced Toronto employees back to work," Neumann says.

"Instead, Crown has attempted to ramp up production by using management and inexperienced replacement workers," he says. "The company has faced a rash of problems, including a serious injury, burst water pipes and a chemical spill, and has had to shut down the plant twice due to such problems."

Neumann's letter to Crown customers also cites witness reports of shipments being returned to the Toronto plant because cans did not meet customer requirements.

Crown provoked a strike at its Toronto plant last September by demanding drastic concessions from its employees, members of USW Local 9176.

The USW has made several offers to settle the dispute, but all of them have been rebuffed by Crown.

"Crown not only rejected our offers but has been making progressively worse offers for the sole purpose of prolonging the strike," says USW staff representative Lawrence Hay.

"Customers may pay a heavy price for Crown's intransigence and may be forced to look elsewhere for suppliers," Hay says.

Striking employees have picketed the plants and warehouses of Crown customers and are leafleting workers entering these facilities, asking them to report defective products coming from Crown's Toronto plant.

Customers of Crown's Toronto plant include Molson Coors, Labatt, Morgan Foods, Cott Beverages, Moosehead, Creemore Springs, Steam Whistle, Dr Pepper Snapple, Oland Breweries, Brick Breweries, Bonduelle, Baxters and Aliments Ouimet-Cordon Bleu.

For an update on the strike and the USW campaign against Crown Holdings, see www.takebacksnomore.ca.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca
Lawrence Hay, USW Staff Representative, 416-807-8792, lhay@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca