• April 7, 2014 2:20 PM

'Where Have You Been?' for Young Workers, Campaign Asks Premier

TORONTO, April 7, 2014 /CNW/ - An online letter-writing campaign is calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne "to stand on the side of Ontario workers and the next generation and not multinational corporations."

"Where have you been?" the campaign launched by the online news service LabourStart asks Wynne. "It is time for you to stand on the side of Ontario workers and the next generation and not multinational corporations."

The letter to Wynne cites the case of employees embroiled in a seven-month strike at a Toronto manufacturing plant owned by U.S.-based multinational giant Crown Holdings.

Crown, one of the world's largest manufacturers of beer cans, is the latest corporate giant trying to impose a two-tier job structure to permanently relegate young workers to low-wage survival jobs.

Crown Holdings is a hugely profitable corporation. Prior to provoking the strike at its Toronto factory, the company gave the plant's employees an award for their productivity and efficiency. 

Crown recently used a provision of Ontario labour law to force its striking employees to vote on a contract offer that would impose a two-tier jobs structure. Despite enduring seven months on the picket line, the employees overwhelmingly rejected the company's offer, by a 117-1 margin.

"Crown Holdings is not attacking its employees' living standards due to economic necessity; it's doing this simply because it can," said Lawrence Hay of the United Steelworkers, which represents the striking employees.

"By remaining silent, Premier Wynne emboldens other profitable corporations to attack young workers and helps spread a low-wage economy in Ontario," Hay said.

The letter-writing campaign urges Wynne to contact Crown Holdings' chief executive officer "and ask the company to drop its unjust demands and to offer equitable terms to end the strike."

Sign on to the campaign at www.usw.ca/crown.

For more information on the Toronto workers' struggle at Crown Holdings, visit www.takebacksnomore.ca

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: 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