Crown's Toronto plant is one of its top producers but the company provoked a strike in 2013 by demanding that new hires would be paid 42 per cent less for doing the same work as current employees. When existing employees said no, Crown demanded all workers accept an across the board 33 per cent wage cut.
Ottawa (13 April 2015) — The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Canada’s central labour body, is calling on workers across the country to join a nationwide boycott by buying their beer in bottles, not cans.
Workers have been on strike since September 2013
The move backs a boycott launched by the United Steelworkers in support of 120 workers forced on strike in September 2013 by Crown Holdings, one of the world’s largest beer can manufacturers.
“We must not let this incredibly profitable multinational company — with a CEO making an average of $13 million a year — show such utter contempt for the very workers who have helped build its success,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.
Crown’s Toronto facility has been unionized for over 25 years. Its workers have an average of 20 years of service to the company. Until now, the union and management enjoyed a stable relationship with only one six-week strike in 1995.
Award-winning company chooses to demand new hires be paid almost half the wages of other workers
The plant is one of the company’s top producers in North America. In 2012, it received the Plant of the Year Award for outstanding “safety, productivity and budget management.”
Despite that success, Crown provoked a strike in 2013 by demanding that new hires would be paid 42 per cent less for doing the same work as current employees. When existing employees said no, Crown demanded all workers accept an across the board 33 per cent wage cut.
Crown has also vowed to keep replacement workers on the job even if a settlement is reached, meaning more than three-quarters of the plant’s current workforce would be laid off. This decision makes it clear the company is attempting to bust the union.
Buy bottles not cans — boycott intended to pressure company to negotiate a fair contract
On March 13, Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn announced that mediator Morton Mitchnick had been appointed to conduct an industrial inquiry into the dispute. While that process unfolds, unions are stepping up pressure on the company to back down.
Crown’s Toronto facility produces over 5 million beverage and food cans per day for customers such as Molson Coors, Labatt, Budweiser, Moosehead and Creemore. Not included in this boycott are cans of Sleeman’s or aluminum bottles of Coors, which are packaged at another unionized plant.
NUPGE supports boycott
"Our members know what it's like to go up against companies that think it's okay to rake in profits and undercut the the workers," said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "We are with the workers at Crown Holdings in their fight for fair and equitable wages and a decent contract."
"We encourage all our members from coast to coast to buy bottles, not cans in solidarity with these striking workers."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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