TORONTO AND OTTAWA, Sept. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - Two of Canada's largest trade
unions are warning Onex chief executive Gerry Schwartz of potential
pitfalls of an acquisition of global manufacturer Jeld-Wen.
Onex, one of Canada's largest private equity firms, should be wary of
acquiring a foreign corporation accused of anti-labour, union-busting
behaviour, say Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director
for Canada, and Dave Coles, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
Union (CEP) President.
In a joint letter to Schwartz, Neumann and Coles raise serious concerns
about Jeld-Wen, a U.S.-based manufacturer of doors and windows.
In August, Onex offered to take a 58% stake in Jeld-Wen at a cost of
Australia's Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has
accused Jeld-Wen of creating a race to the bottom of the economic
ladder and forcing workers to strike.
Jeld-Wen's Australian workers are paid wages below that of other
manufacturing workers. Recently, 200 Jeld-Wen workers were forced into
a three-week strike after attempting to secure wage increases above the
inflation rate. With labour unrest expected to continue, the CFMEU is
calling for a global campaign against Jeld-Wen.
"It is hard to believe that Jeld-Wen would force a major strike in
Australia, one of its most successful markets, when it is trying to
convince potential buyers of bonds to invest in the company," says Ken
The USW-CEP joint letter points out that trade union pension funds worth
billions are managed by some of North America's largest investment
"We want Onex and Jeld-Wen to know that we are in full support of the
CFMEU and will be alerting trade unions throughout North America about
the labour dispute in Australia," Dave Coles says. "Trade unions do not
want funds invested for retirees to be used to bust unions."
Neumann and Coles are vice-presidents of the International Federation of
Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) and jointly
chair the ICEM North America Region. ICEM affiliates represent 20
million workers worldwide.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, USW, 416-544-5950;
Dave Coles, President, CEP, 613-299-5628;
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, email@example.com.