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Pandemic Profiteers Must Pay Workers Fairly: United Steelworkers

TORONTO – Workers out on strike at Rexplas bottle packaging deserve a share of the pandemic profits they helped their employer rake in last year, says the United Steelworkers union (USW).

After steadfastly working through the pandemic at a profitable bottle-packaging company, workers at Rexplas in Toronto rejected the company’s final contract offer that opened with 0% on April 23, 2021. Many of the workers make just above minimum wage and commute long hours on public transit to get to work.

The 35 members of USW Local 8300 – a group that is predominantly racialized women – have been on strike against Rexplas since April 26. The workers do quality control, packaging and shipping, and have worked for the company for as long as 35 years.

Rexplas did experience a number of COVID-19 cases but was never shut down. Workers exposed their lives and continued to work, throughout.

Rexplas is owned by Richards Packaging Income Fund, a company that had huge pandemic profits in 2020:

Richards Packaging Income Fund:

  • Reports $69 million in additional revenue due to the pandemic … but offers its workers at Rexplas a new contract starting at zero.
  • Benefited from strong revenue growth even before the pandemic … yet offers its workers at Rexplas, wage increases starting at zero.
  • Rewards its executives with big bonuses that increased compensation by a whopping 180% in 2020 … yet tries to force a contract of 0% wage increases on hardworking Rexplas employees.

“It’s time for these pandemic profiteers to treat these workers fairly. It is outrageous that company executives feel entitled to rake in money, yet exploit the workers who create their success,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director. “Companies like Rexplas and many other pandemic profiteers are hoarding wealth and it’s disgusting. It’s time for Rexplas to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair contract that doesn’t start with zero.”


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Thomas De Sousa, USW Staff Representative, 416-977-7274 ext. 234, tdesousa@usw.ca
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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