Bluffs Advocate

Working Life

Check That Can Before You Buy Beer

Local activists' information picket supports Crown Holdings' striking workers

By Tom Grinnell

            Local activists held an information picket at the Victoria Park and Danforth Beer Store on Saturday, March 14, in support of the United Steel Workers Local 9176, who work for Crown Holdings, the corporation that manufactures beer cans.

Workers at Crown Holdings have been on strike for 19 months, after the company demanded the elimination of a cost-of-living allowance (COLA), the establishment of a permanent two-tier wage system, wage cuts as high as 42%, and the continuation of a nine-year freeze on pensions.

During the information picket, thirteen local activists, two workers from the Toronto Crown Holdings plant, and local NDP MP Dan Harris distributed flyers asking customers to boycott beer sold in cans that are made by Crown Holdings. Beer cans made by Crown can be easily identified by looking for the small Crown logo next to the bar code on the can.

Crown operates approximately 140 plants in 40 different countries. Crown's profits nearly doubled in 2012— to $557 million from $282 million in 2011. At the same time that the company was demanding wage and benefit concessions from its workers, the CEO has earned an average of $13 million in each of the last five years.

Crown has managed to continue its operations at the Toronto plant during the strike through the use of scab labour. As of March 2015, the company's actions and anti-labour tactics are under investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.