Crown boycott reaches US settlement

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Crown boycott reaches US settlement
A boycott which broke out in Canada urging consumers not to buy beer manufactured in cans by Crown Holdings has reached a settlement in the US.

The protest was launched by the United Steelworkers (USW) trade union in Toronto earlier this month and had the backing of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

Cut wages for new starters

Djalma Novaes
Djalma Novaes, president, Crown Americas Division

The row broke out after 120 Toronto Steelworkers, who have manufactured beer cans at Crown Holdings North York factory for 25 years, were forced to strike in 2013, after the multi-national company allegedly cut pensions, eliminated the cost of living allowance and cut wages for new starters.

Crown allegedly refused to negotiate a settlement to the 19-month strike, according to USW, and is rumoured to have said in the event of a deal, most union members will lose their jobs to replacement workers recruited to operate the Toronto factory during the strike.

FoodProductionDaily contacted Crown regarded the Candandian protests, however, in a surprise turnaround, Djalma Novaes, president, Crown Americas Division, said Crown Cork & Seal USA, an affiliate of Crown Holdings, has reached a multi-year labor agreement with the USW union in the US. 

Wyoming beverage packaging plant

He said the agreement will date back to February 23, 2015, and covers 143 employees working at the Company's Alsip, Illinois aerosol packaging plant and its Worland, Wyoming beverage packaging plant. He did not mention the Canadian facility.

"Crown is pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with the United Steelworkers​," said Novaes.

"We are committed to investing in our employees and the communities in which we operate. We are confident this agreement will help Crown to deliver the innovation, quality and service our customers expect​."

Protest at Carnival Cruise Lines AGM in London

Following the dispute, union members took their protest to London where a delegation of Crown workers stood outside Carnival Cruise Lines AGM in London on April 14 and outside the Carnival HQ in Southampton, UK on April 15 because Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival, is on the board of directors at Crown. 

Unite and USW formed a global trade union called Workers Uniting in 2008, with both unions providing mutual support in disputes with multi-national corporations, such as Crown Holdings. 

Ian Tonks, national officer, Unite, said at the time: “We believe Arnold Donald can use his influence as both CEO of Carnival and his board role at Crown to bring this dispute to a fair conclusion.​”

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