Steelworkers Condemn Crown Holdings Use of Strikebreakers at Toronto Plant

TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Manufacturing giant Crown Holdings is inflaming a Toronto labour dispute by importing strikebreakers from Alberta, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

"Crown Holdings' use of strikebreakers is an obvious provocation and should be widely condemned," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

"This global corporation should be negotiating a fair deal with its employees, not inflaming the situation by resorting to further union-busting tactics," Warren said. 

U.S.-based Crown is one of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage containers, with operations in 149 countries. Crown's Toronto plant supplies cans to Labatt, Molson-Coors and Cott among others. The company almost doubled its profits in 2012 and gave its CEO a $12-million compensation package.

However, Crown provoked a strike at its Toronto plant on Sept. 6 by demanding major concessions from employees, including two-tier wage rates and pension freezes.

The company is now trying to break the strike with replacement workers from a non-union plant in Calgary, the USW has learned.

Earlier this year the company gave Toronto plant employees an award for their excellent record of safety, productivity, quality and budget management. 

"Now the company wants to impose cuts and significantly lower the living standards for new and younger workers," said Ken Hetherton, President of USW Local 9176, representing the 120 Toronto employees. 

"This fight is not just about us but about future generations of working families," Hetherton said.

Crown's use of strikebreakers reflects the indifference of Ontario's Liberal government to working families whose living standards are under attack by multinational corporations, Warren said.

"This is another example of how this government gives corporations free reign to bully workers and decimate the core industrial base of our province. It cries out for so-called anti-scab legislation as in Quebec and British Columbia, where governments prohibit strike-breaking."

Ontario's Liberal governments have consistently rejected anti-scab legislation despite recurring examples of strike-breaking across the province. 

"This is a David-versus-Goliath struggle and workers at Crown are standing up to a giant American company. We need fair laws and a level playing field to protect ourselves and future generations," said Hetherton.

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544 6009, 416-434-7907, 
Ken Hetherton, USW Local 9176 President, 416-890-0118
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221,

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