"Our members were willing to negotiate but the employer wasn't interested. The employer wanted everything gone. The workers couldn't do that." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Toronto (12 Jan. 2017) — Members of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers (CUBGW/NUPGE) have been at the bargaining table with Molson Coors for months trying to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement.
Despite being in a strike position as of Monday, January 9, the union held off on setting up picket lines to give the employer a last chance to come back with an improved package of proposals. The employer refused to budge.
Today, the members walked out of the plant to a picket line at the gate.
MolsonCoors demanded concession after concession, and that wasn't enough
Molson Coors is a multinational corporation with revenue of $43.6 billion in 2015. It is a massive corporation fighting its own employees who only want a decent living.
This is not the first set of negotiations to reveal this pattern of bargaining from brewery employers. In 2013, workers at Labatt in St. John's, Newfoundland were on strike for 11 months against major concessions.
"The pattern the industry seems to be following is to completely gut unionized workers' collective agreements," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), of which CUBGW is a Component. "Our members were willing to negotiate but the employer wasn't interested. The employer wanted everything gone. The workers couldn't do that."
|Messages of solidarity can be sent to the CUBGW's Facebook page|
Loyal, hard-working employees proud of their work, proud of their product
"The Component had recently started a social media campaign to let Canadians know how proud and committed these members are to their trade," said Brown. "In return for this hard work and commitment, they've been given a choice of get nothing or strike. Workers need to feed our families, pay their bills and try to have something left over for the future."
"These members aren't just saying no for themselves, they're looking out for every beer worker in Canada," said Brown. "Molson Coors isn't just attacking workers' rights here but this is happening to brewery workers around the world as well. Our members have been loyal, hard-working employees, some for decades, but they were being bullied into giving up their hard-won working conditions."
Strength of 370,000 members behind striking workers
"Striking is one of the most difficult decisions a worker can make," Brown said. "We've stood with our Brewery members before. We stand with them again as they battle the challenges ahead. The members of CUBGW/NUPGE have the strength of 370,000 members behind them, not to mention the wider labour movement."
"We want to show respect and thanks to these members who have taken this difficult step. NUPGE will be working with them to get this employer back to the table to get a fair and decent contract."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE