Media Advisory - Steelworkers Rally at BMO Shareholder Meeting

Protest Bank's Role in Prolonging 27-Month Strike

TORONTO, March 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Striking Steelworkers from Infinity Rubber will travel from Toronto to Halifax, NS to attend the Bank of Montreal's annual meeting of shareholders to protest the bank's role in prolonging their 27-month labour dispute.

The striking workers will be joined by Halifax-area United Steelworkers (USW) for a rally outside the meeting.

WHAT:  Protest Rally at Bank of Montreal Annual Shareholder Meeting
   
WHEN:         8:45 a.m.Tuesday, March 20th
   
WHERE: 
Cornwallis Park, Halifax
(across from Westin Nova Scotia, 1181 Hollis St.)

"Bank of Montreal (BMO) chose to finance an employer that is determined to get rid of its unionized workers," stated USW District 6 Director Wayne Fraser. "We hold the BMO accountable for prolonging our members' hardship and we'll deliver that message in person at the shareholder meeting."

USW members have been on strike at Infinity Rubber since December, 2009, when their employer made drastic demands for wage and benefit concessions that would have taken the average worker from a $20 hourly wage to just over $13/hour. All the workers had been with the company for over 10 years, and some more than 30 years.

In June 2011, BMO's main Hamilton, ON, branch gave a $7.5-million mortgage to the Infinity Rubber group through its holding company, BRI Holdings Inc.  BMO granted the mortgage despite the ongoing strike and the current management's recent history of insolvency and bankruptcy. The fresh BMO financing enabled the operation to repay an 18% loan it had previously negotiated with Callidus Corporation Inc. and to continue operating with much lower costs and with temporary replacement workers while ignoring the striking workers' plight.

"By lending money to Infinity Rubber and its management group with a history of bankruptcy, this bank has gone the extra mile to finance an attack on workers," added Fraser. "Our members will be at the AGM because BMO shareholders need to know about this."

More information about the strike, visit: http://www.usw.ca/BMObankrollsInfinityRubber

 

For further information:

Contacts:
Wayne Fraser, USW District 6 Director, wfraser@usw.ca, 416-243-8792;
Alexandra Eshelman, USW, aeshelman@usw.ca, 416-570-9984.