City of Brotherly Love shows solidarity with Toronto beer can workers forced on strike for 19 months
TORONTO and PHILADELPHIA, April 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Philadelphia City Council has unanimously denounced Philadelphia-based multinational Crown Holdings for its union-busting behaviour against Toronto workers forced to strike for the last 19 months.
Philadelphia City Council – including Republican members – unanimously passed a resolution Thursday condemning Crown Holdings, one the world's largest beer can manufacturers, for its actions against 120 strikers at the company's Toronto factory. The 120 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 in Toronto have been on the picket line since Crown provoked a strike in September 2013.
The resolution passed in Philadelphia was sponsored by Councilman Ed Neilson with support from Councilman Bobby Henon. It was strongly supported by all council members, including Republicans Brian O'Neil and David Oh. Crown's corporate headquarters are located in O'Neill's district.
Philadelphia resident and USW Local 404 President Lindsay Patterson thanked the entire council and council President Darrell Clarke for their support.
"These union members have been coming to Philadelphia for a year and half to protest against Crown, and now they know they are truly in the City of Brotherly Love," Patterson said.
The resolution cited Crown's deep roots in Philadelphia beginning in 1936 and its status among the top 10 Fortune 500 companies in the metro area. It referred to the cause of the strike as a demand by Crown to cut the wages of new workers by 42 per cent to rates that existed in 1987 and concluded by stating the council "condemns the actions of Crown Holdings and calls upon the company to drop its anti-union demands and negotiate a fair contract that gives all of the USW strikers a fair opportunity to return to work."
Four of the striking Toronto workers drove 11 hours to attend the council meeting. They were accompanied by Philadelphia Labour Council President Pat Eiding and Kati Sipp of Pennsylvania Working Families.
"We have lost count of how many times we have been to Philadelphia to picket the headquarters and leaflet in the neighbourhoods of Crown officials and board members," said Cheryl Dollimore, a 20-year Crown employee whose father and grandfather worked at the Toronto plant.
"We will never forget this action by the elected representatives of Philadelphia's people," Dollimore said.
"This should wake up some of our own elected officials in Toronto and the government of Ontario that stronger actions must be taken to get some justice from this giant multinational and get us back to work," said fellow striker Bob Lapchuk, a 40-year employee.
Recently, the Ontario government and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn established an industrial inquiry commission and appointed a mediator to explore ways to end the 19-month strike. Liberal MPP Laura Albanese and NDP members Peter Tabuns and Taras Natyshak have spoken out about the Crown strike in sessions of Ontario's legislature.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)