All Affiliate flags flying high!
On Saturday Toronto GTA [Greater Toronto Area] Education workers joined the United Steelworkers Local 9176 Crown Metal Packaging workers in solidarity on the picket lines outside the Signet Drive plant in North York. The 120 workers have been on strike for 19 months after refusing a new contract offer containing huge pay cuts and an erosion of benefits. The Education Workers were joined by teachers from ETFO OSSTF and OECTA. All present hoped to help get the company to return to the negotiating table in the "spirit of fairness" that is so sadly lacking in Crowns treatment of the USW 9176 workers.
USW 9176: Keeps of the flame!
In 2012 the workers had won the Crown Metal "Plant of the Year" award for productivity. Last year Crown lost $24 million due to the strike. Obviously, Crow's intransigence isn't due to the profit margin! Indeed the workers explained that Crown Packaging had been a friendly and productive plant where many of them had worked for decades. Then the very antagonistic US head office directly took over operations. They started to crack the whip, trying to break the union and get the workers to fall in line with the piss poor work terms and conditions more common south of our border.
Since Ontario allows scab replacement workers, Crown Packaging in North York has been able to continue to manufacture beer cans for the North American market during the 19 month strike. The USW workers hope we will boycott cans and only buy our beer in bottles instead!
Boycott beer in cans!!!
The USW 9176 workers also hope pressure can be brought to bear upon the Ontario Wynne government to change it's Scab laws. Crown has let it be known they plan to fire 75% of the striking workers and keep on the replacement workers after they break the strike. The workers have been very busy taking pictures of the potential new co-workers should Crown gets its way, so they will know who they are.
I met many of our GTA teacher colleagues supporting the protest rally from ETFO ETT, OSSTF D12 + D19, OECTA TSU, TECT and TOTL. It seemed very timely as we stood in the brisk, windy cold of early spring with possibly months of school strike action ahead. Whatever the existing differences, be they between or within the affiliates, our teacher locals have a proud history of working well together. It was reassuring to see many of our fellow "teachers in arms" from the "Great Tory Demise" of 2003 in attendance. Also a lot of younger teachers were actively involved. It's an excellent mix that bodes well for our struggle ahead!
OSSTF D19 PAC is a go!
A special "hats off" to OSSTF D-19 Peel. I'm told the members are strongly and confidently united in solidarity and good faith with their provincial leadership. Plus they have a vigorous vanguard of new and experienced teachers quite ready, willing and able to lead the charge when it's time!
See my blog from when I first visited the Crown Plant Strikers @ Week 5!
See the USW 9176 Facebook page for news updates @ Facebook
My ongoing news updates are available