TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) and Occupy
Toronto joined forces today to highlight the Bank of Montreal's
(TSX:BMO) role in prolonging one of the longest strikes in Toronto
The flash mob of dozens of demonstrators, including more than 25 Occupy
Toronto dancers and singers, showed up at the main Bank of Montreal
branch at King and Bay to challenge BMO to help end the 27-month strike
at Infinity Rubber.
In a choreographed song and dance number set to the tune of "Moves Like
Jagger" by Maroon 5, the group urged onlookers inside the branch, and
later on the street, to "Move from BMO" because of the bank's role in
funding an attack on workers.
USW members at Infinity Rubber in Toronto's Etobicoke neighbourhood have
been walking the picket line for over two years, fighting their
employer's demands for drastic wage and benefit cuts.
Rather than negotiate a fair settlement, the company has been operating
with replacement workers. Despite the ongoing strike and the
operation's history of bankruptcy, workers were shocked to learn the
Bank of Montreal granted Infinity Rubber new financing at a far better
rate than it previously had access to.
"What is the Bank of Montreal doing funding Infinity Rubber?" asked John
Humphrey, one of the Steelworkers members who participated in today's
flash mob. "Don't they see that by financing this company, they are
bankrolling an attack on workers? We are here to make sure this bank
gets the message that this is wrong. We want BMO to help end this
strike." In a rally outside the branch following the dance,
Steelworkers Toronto Area Council President Carolyn Egan thanked Occupy
Toronto for its participation in the event.
"This is a little different than how we usually do things," Egan said,
"but we are happy to have the energy of the Occupy movement with us in
highlighting how a financial institution is perpetuating this attack on
"Canadian banks got off scot-free in the financial crisis and yet here
is a concrete example of very questionable lending practices. Thank you
to Occupy Toronto for helping us raise awareness of these practices in
an innovative way."
To view a photo gallery of today's event, see www.usw.ca/media/photo?id=0029.
For more information on the Infinity Rubber strike and to view a video
telling the workers' stories and highlighting BMO's role in the
dispute, see www.usw.ca/BMObankrollsInfinityRubber.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-570-9984, firstname.lastname@example.org