As was discussed at our September Labour Council Meeting, USW Local 9176 (Crown Holdings Weston plant in Toronto) has been on strike for a year as of September 6, 2014.
The workers need our solidarity through donations, letters of moral support, and boycotts of some of Crown Holdings' products and services.
Crown Holdings is an American multinational corporation that is the largest metal food packaging company in the world. They have 147 plants world wide. Their global customers include Molson, Labatt, Nestle, Pepsi-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, Heineken and Heinz among others.
Some of the strike issues include
- A two tier wage system that would permanently cut new hires wages by $9/hour. This would take wages back to what they were 28 years ago.
- A 5 year freeze on the pension plan - after no increases for 9 years
- Elimination of hours available to the Local Union President to conduct union business
- Elimination of physical presence of the union in the plant
In March 2014, Crown Holdings forced a vote on the offer. It was turned down by a count of 117 to 1. To date no worker has crossed the picket line. However, the company has been using scab labour. In July 2014, Crown Holdings stated that even if the union was to accept an offer that included the cuts to wages and benefits, they were only prepared to accept 26 of the approximately 120 workers back. The remaining workers would be scabs. The USW filed an unfair labour practice complaint at the Ontario Labour Relations Board on September 5, 2014, charging that Crown Holdings is violating its duty to bargain in good faith by making unreasonable offers to avoid reaching an agreement.
I have 2 links that I would appreciate you passing on to your members. The first one is the last strike update. The 2nd link is a history of the strike and some things people can do that would make a difference. They include
- Sending a letter (email) of support to USW 9176
- Sending a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne
- Drinking beer from bottles instead of cans
- Boycotting Carnival Cruises - Carnival CEO Arnold Donald is a director of Crown Holdings
Anything you and your members could do would be greatly appreciated by the Brothers and Sisters of USW 9176. After all this could be anyone's battle. As you know, Unions and working people in general have been under attack for some time now.
Gord Assman is a retired Steelworker and activist with the Waterloo Regional Labour Council.