Striking Crown workers in Toronto expand campaign to end dispute by picketing more breweries that buy Crown cans; workers went on strike nine months ago following concessionary demands from Crown, which hired replacement workers to continue operations

TORONTO , June 19, 2014 (press release) – Workers forced on strike by can-making giant Crown Holdings are expanding their campaign to end the dispute by picketing more breweries that buy Crown cans.

The Toronto workers were forced on strike nine months ago by massive concessionary demands from Crown, a U.S.-based multinational. Rather than negotiate a fair settlement, Crown has recruited replacement workers to try to operate the plant and break the union.

The strikers, members of the United Steelworkers (USW), have already been picketing major Crown customers such as Molson Coors, Labatt, Cott, Baxters and Bonduelle.

With Crown refusing to negotiate a settlement, USW National Director Ken Neumann has notified several other Crown customers – including companies buying cans from Crown factories outside Toronto – that picketing will expand to their operations.

The strikers will be picketing smaller breweries and cider makers such as Great Lakes, Neustadt, McAuslan (St-Ambroise), Denison's (Weissbier), Better Bitters (Nickel Brook), Arch, Asmterdam and Thornbury Village Cidery.

"We want to make it clear to these brewers and cider makers that they are being drawn into this unfortunate situation only because Crown Holdings refused to negotiate fairly with us," Neumann said.

"We urge every one of these companies to contact Crown and ask them to get back to the negotiating table with us and find a fair compromise ASAP."

The Toronto workers have been on the picket line since Sept. 6, 2013. They are fighting Crown's demands that include a permanent, lower-wage tier for new hires that would cut their pay to levels from 28 years ago.

"The workers have remained fully committed to a reasonable settlement, but Crown has not been willing to negotiate a fair deal," Neumann said.

Crown has not met with the union since March, after workers voted 117-1 against a company proposal that gave them few assurances they would even be recalled to their jobs.

"Rather than making a reasonable offer to end the dispute and restore the confidence of its customers, Crown made it impossible for USW members to vote for it," Neumann says in his letter to Crown customers.

For more information on the strike and the USW's campaign, including pictures and video, see

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