·  Media release

Steelworkers Rally on One-Year Anniversary of Crown Holdings Strike

TORONTO - Labour, political and community supporters joined United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 members today at a rally marking the first anniversary of their strike at the Crown Holdings manufacturing plant in Toronto.

The 120 members of USW Local 9176, many with decades of service to Crown, were forced on strike Sept. 6, 2013, by the U.S.-based multinational's demands for massive concessions.

One of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage cans, Crown demanded concessions including deep pay cuts for new hires, despite huge profits and recognizing the Toronto workers with a "Plant of the Year" award for their outstanding productivity.

The strikers were joined on the picket line today by USW Ontario Director Marty Warren, Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath, Ontario Federation of Labour Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Hutchison and members of other local unions including UNITE HERE.

Throughout the past year USW Local 9176 members have been committed to reaching a fair deal and returning to work. However, Crown's conduct in bargaining has led the union to the conclusion that Crown has no intention of reaching an agreement with the workers.

After causing numerous delays during bargaining and making progressively worse offers to the strikers, the company indicated in July that it was not prepared to return the vast majority of the strikers to work, even if they agreed to huge cuts in pay and benefits.

The company stated it only has 26 positions available to be filled by strikers (out of approximately 120). All remaining positions would be filled by replacement workers, or scabs, hired during the strike and kept on rather than returning the long-service employees to their jobs.

The USW filed an unfair labour practice complaint at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) on Sept. 5, charging Crown is violating its duty to bargain in good faith by making unreasonable offers to avoid reaching an agreement.

"Clearly what Crown wants is to destroy our union. They want to keep the non-union scabs rather than taking back most of their long-time workers," said USW staff representative Lawrence Hay. "We believe their so-called offers add up to an unfair labour practice and we believe the OLRB will agree with us."

In addition to filing the unfair labour practice complaint, the union is planning an expanded campaign to raise public awareness about the strike.

For more information on the strike and the USW's campaign, including photos and video, see www.takebacksnomore.ca.

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Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca
Candace Huntly, media liaison, 416-721-6858, candace@songbirdmarketing.com

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