Steelworkers ask beer drinkers to share holiday spirit | National Union of Public and General Employees

Steelworkers ask beer drinkers to share holiday spirit

This holiday season beer drinkers are being asked to "TOAST SOLIDARITY WITH A BOTTLE NOT A CAN."

Toronto (19 Dec. 2014) — The National Union of Public and General Employees is joining with unions and social justice organizations to urge beer drinkers to buy their favourite brew in bottles — not cans — to support working families under attack this holiday season by the world’s largest beer can maker.

Sending a strong message

“Consumers can help send a strong message to this company during the holiday season. By buying bottled beer rather than scab cans, they can help working families get a fair deal to end this dispute,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

USW members at Crown’s Toronto factory have been on strike since September 2013, when the highly profitable American corporation demanded massive concessions from its employees.

Company trying to bust the union

After provoking the dispute, Crown hired scabs to operate the Toronto factory. The strikebreakers are producing cans sold to multinational brewers, including Anheuser-Busch InBev (Labatt) and Molson Coors who, together with Sapporo, control Ontario’s Beer Stores.

Steelworkers and their supporters from Quebec to British Columbia also are encouraging the public to buy bottled beer instead of scab cans. Crown recently announced the closing of its only remaining plant in Quebec.

Some facts of the dispute

  • 120 Toronto workers, members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176, were forced on strike by Crown Holdings, Inc. on September 6, 2013.
  • Crown's Toronto facility has been unionized for over 25 years and many of the workers have worked for Crown for over two decades.
  • The company consolidated labour relations at its U.S. headquarters and has little knowledge of the unique nature and issues of the Toronto facility.
  • Crown is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of food and beverage cans.
  • It claims to make one out of every five beverage cans in the world, and one out of every three food cans in North America.
  • Crown operates approximately 140 plants in 40 countries; about 12,000 of its 21,300 employees worldwide are covered by a collective agreement.
  • Crown nearly doubled its profits in 2012, to $557 million from $282 million in 2011.
  • Crown’s CEO was paid an average of $13 million/year in the past five years.
  • The Toronto facility is one of Crown’s top producers in North America and received the 2012 “Plant of the Year Award” for outstanding “safety, productivity and budget management.”
  • The facility produces over 5 million beverage and food cans per day for customers such as Molson, Coors, Labatt, Budweiser, Moosehead, Creemore, Morgan’s and Cotts.

More information:

Bottles not cans


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

Issues and Campaigns: