Union Workers from Canada Protest at Crown Holdings in Philadelphia

Protesters horrified as female police officer struck by driver escorting Crown corporate officer

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Dozens of Canadian workers forced on strike by Crown Holdings journeyed 500 miles to Crown's headquarters today to protest the company's demands for cuts including a permanent lower wage scale for new and younger workers.

"Crown doubled its profits last year and gave us an award this year for being one of the most profitable, productive and safest plants in its worldwide empire," said Ken Hetherton, president of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 in Toronto.

"Now Crown is demanding we take unfair cuts after years of sacrifice, including nine years without a pension increase," Hetherton said.

"Crown Holdings is massively profitable - it doesn't need to force cuts on its employees," said Steelworkers Toronto Area Council President Carolyn Egan. "Crown wants to do this because it can. It's one of the most outrageous examples of corporate greed we have ever seen in Canada."

Egan pointed out that Crown's CEO earned over $6,000 per hour in total compensation in 2012, prompting shareholder wrath at the company's annual meeting.

In addition to its demand for a two-tier wage scale for employees, Crown is also trying to eliminate a cost of living adjustment and fairness language in their collective bargaining agreement.

"We believe that the core reason for Crown's actions is to weaken unions throughout its operations by creating huge wage differences between older and younger workers," said Hetherton.

USW members met yesterday with members of the International Association of Machinists at a Crown plant in Lawrence, Mass. The meeting was part of the USW's Take-Backs No More campaign which has drawn a line in the sand on behalf of all Crown workers in North America and across the world.

"Crown officers and directors will now start to feel on a regular basis some of the pain our members have been feeling for the past few months," vowed Egan.

Workers protesting outside Crown's Philadelphia headquarters today were horrified when a driver apparently escorting a key corporate executive hit a female police officer who was there to ensure safety.

The USW issued a press release on the incident earlier today, praising the work of police at the protest and voicing concern for the injured officer.

The police officer stated she would have been injured more seriously if not for the efforts of USW members to pull her out of the way of the speeding vehicle, the union said.

The USW is receiving strong support from numerous unions, the AFL-CIO, Canadian Labour Congress and global trade union federations representing over 60 million workers.

The USW represents over 800,000 workers in North America and the Caribbean.

For further information, see www.usw.ca/crownholdings.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Media contacts:

Carolyn Egan, Steelworkers Toronto Area Council, 416-806-7385, c.egan@sympatico.ca
Lawrence Hay, USW Staff Representative, 416-807-8792, lhay@usw.ca
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca


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