New Contract Ratified at Crown Metal Packaging, Strike Ends

TORONTO, July 19, 2015 /CNW/ - Employees of the Crown Metal Packaging factory in Toronto have ratified a new collective agreement, ending a 22-month strike.

Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 voted today to accept a six-year collective agreement with Crown. The return to work process will begin Aug. 10.

A tentative agreement was negotiated July 8 after the company withdrew one of the major impediments to a settlement – its attempt to bar many striking workers from returning to their jobs. The company had recruited replacement workers to operate the Toronto factory during the labour dispute.

The new collective agreement guarantees the rights of all striking employees to return to their jobs. It also includes enhanced retirement and severance provisions for employees who decide not to return to the plant.

"These men and women can return to work with their heads held high. They are going back shoulder-to-shoulder, with their union and their principles intact," said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director.

"These workers fought for nearly two years against a foreign multinational's attempt to eliminate their union and their unionized jobs. They received tremendous support from their community and from many allies. While the Liberal government appointed a commission of inquiry, unfortunately it did not direct binding arbitration.

"Clearly, this strike demonstrates the pressing need for amendments to the Labour Relations Act that would provide for binding arbitration in long and difficult strikes and would impose a ban on the use of replacement workers. We urge the Liberal government to take the necessary steps through the current labour law review process to commit to those reforms," Warren added.

"We wish to thank the Bargaining Committee and USW International Vice-President Fred Redmond who worked tirelessly on the strike. We also thank the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the Canadian Labour Congress and the many unions, community groups and residents who provided tremendous financial and moral support to these working families over the last 22 months," he said.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca; Lawrence Hay, USW Staff Representative, 416-807-8792, lhay@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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