Steelworkers Take Message to Carnival Cruise

TORONTO, March 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Four Toronto Steelworkers on strike for 18 months greeted surprised passengers by leafleting aboard the Carnival Ecstasy ship on a four-day Caribbean cruise last week.

The Toronto strikers sported slogan-bearing T-shirts and distributed postcards informing fellow passengers of Carnival CEO Arnold Donald's refusal to help resolve the 18-month strike at Crown Holdings, where Donald serves as a board member.

Donald has not responded to requests from the strikers – members of the United Steelworkers (USW) – to help find a resolution to the strike that was provoked by Crown's demands for massive concessions in September 2013.

"Crown's demands attack the next generation of workers and eliminate good union jobs and benefits," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.

"These attacks undermine Carnival's business plan that relies on workers being able to afford cruises," said Neumann. "Unfortunately Arnold Donald has been silent and is risking his company's own reputation by being a party to these attacks on the middle class."

During last week's Carnival cruise, the striking Steelworkers wore T-shirts stating "Ask Me About Arnold Donald, Carnival CEO" and distributed postcards to fellow passengers asking why Donald is trying to "sink the middle class."

Steelworkers also leafleted Carnival passengers at various ports and at the corporation's Miami headquarters. The strikers also are leafleting the neighborhoods where Crown board members own palatial winter homes and belong to golf and yacht clubs.

Crown forced its 120 Toronto employees on strike in 2013 after demanding that new workers be paid 42% less than existing employees. Crown has since made increasingly worse demands, including providing no assurances that most workers can return to their jobs even if the labour dispute is resolved.

Crown, which has hired replacement workers to run its Toronto plant, reported losses of $21 million in 2014 primarily related to the Toronto strike.

The Ontario Federation of Labour, the USW and the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada have called for a boycott of Carnival cruise ships.

Carnival is the world's largest cruise line, and Philadelphia-based Crown Holdings is the world's largest aluminum beverage can manufacturer with 147 plants.

For more details: www.takebacksnomore.ca.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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