USW accuses Crown Holdings of unfair labour practices

Company bargaining in bad faith: Union

The United Steelworkers (USW) filed a complaint of bad faith bargaining and unfair labour practices with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against American multinational company Crown Holdings.

The union claims the company plans to replace three-quarters of its unionized Toronto workers even if they settle a year-long labour dispute.

“In my entire career, I have never seen a company make such a demand — to dump workers even if they agree to end the strike,” said Marty Warren, USW director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada. “If this brutal behaviour is upheld, it sets a dangerous precedent. It threatens to undermine the right to strike in Ontario and embolden employers to engage in permanent replacement of strikers, as is widely practiced in the United States.”

Striking began at the company’s Toronto factory when the company — one of the world’s largest manufacturers of food and beverage cans — called for concessions.

The USW’s complaint claims the company has purposefully engaged in surface bargaining to prevent an agreement. The proposal to replace most employees makes it impossible for workers to agree to a deal, the union said.

Workers rejected the company’s demands by a vote of 117 to one in March after the company offered few assurances workers could return to their jobs. The union reports Crown Holdings’ most recent proposal seeks to cut wages by as much as one-third.

“We believe Crown is out to bust the union and is not interested in negotiating an end to this dispute,” said USE international vice president Fred Redmond.

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