Guests Advised of Surveillance/Privacy Issues at Toronto Hotel

"This may not be your choice environment," union advises Marriott guests unwittingly exposed to U.S. firm's private security agents and strikebreakers

TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Patrons at a Toronto-area Marriott hotel are being advised to consider privacy and ethical questions raised by their exposure to a heavy presence of security agents and strikebreakers on the property.

"This may not be your choice environment and you may want to reconsider your stay at Marriott," guests at the Courtyard by Marriott, on Interchange Way in Vaughan, are advised in a leaflet distributed by the United Steelworkers (USW).

The leaflet enlightens Marriott guests who may be questioning the unusual presence of uniformed security agents and vans with blacked-out windows transporting people to and from the hotel.

The Marriott is currently housing dozens of AFIMAC (formerly AFI International Group Inc.) security agents and strikebreakers hired by Crown Holdings, a U.S.-based multinational that operates a factory off Weston Road in Toronto.

Crown Holdings is one of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage containers. Crown provoked a strike at its Toronto plant in September when it demanded concessions from employees despite recently giving them an award for exceptional profitability and productivity.

Instead of negotiating a fair deal with its employees, Crown is now trying to break the strike.

Crown's striking employees, members of the Steelworkers union, set up an information picket outside the hotel yesterday.

Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW District 6 Director, also delivered a letter to hotel management, asking it to reconsider whether it wants the hotel to be used as a base by strikebreaking American corporations and security agents that are attacking the livelihoods of Toronto working families.

The leaflets distributed to Marriott guests state, in part: "You may notice a heavy presence of uniformed persons who appear as police. But that is not the case. They are from AFI, 'North America's largest supplier of labour dispute private security' - similar to the so-called 'Pinkertons' hired to break worker protests and strikes … Don't be surprised if they take pictures or video of innocent people. They also have recording devices, often concealed. This may be an invasion of your privacy, and the information could be taken to the United States."

Crown Holdings nearly doubled its profits last year. Crown's CEO was given a $12-million compensation package.

Despite its financial success, Crown has continued to attack workers and their unions.  In Toronto, the company is demanding that new and younger workers be placed on a permanent lower-wage scale, which would effectively drive down the living and working standards of all future employees.

USW members at Crown are standing up for the next generation of workers and have garnered widespread support around the world in their Take-Backs No More campaign to stop Crown's attacks throughout its global operations.

For more information, visit www.usw.ca/crownholdings.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Tony DePaulo, Assistant to the USW District 6 Director, (416) 243-8792 (office), (905) 869-0760 (cell), tdepaulo@usw.ca
Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, (416) 544-5968, aeshelman@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca


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