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Glass workers strike at Owens-Illinois plant in Montreal

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1 June, 2023In a powerful show of unity and determination, 330 workers at the Owens-Illinois (O-I) glass factory in Montreal, Quebec, went on strike on 10 May, demanding fair treatment and better working conditions. The strike was called after negotiations between the union and company management broke down.

"Our purchasing power is rapidly diminishing. We refuse to see wage rollbacks at a time when our families are suffering from the rising cost of groceries, housing and mortgages. We say no; this time we're putting our foot down,"

says Éric Dumas, president of USW Local 206G, representing workers at the O-I plant.
The collective agreement expired in February. The strike is fuelled by a number of issues that have long been a source of discontent among workers. The union argued that wages had remained stagnant and not in line with the rising cost of living. In addition, concerns were expressed about deteriorating working conditions, endangering the well-being of employees.
Workers at the O-I plant are determined to make their voices heard and bring about positive change. The strike has attracted attention both in the local community and throughout the trade union movement with messages of solidarity from other unions and organizations, underlining the importance of workers uniting to defend their rights.

The Pointe-Saint-Charles plant is the only glassworks in Quebec that manufactures dark beer bottles and other glass containers. Picket lines have disrupted plant operations and shown the workers' unwavering determination. The strike is affecting the supply chain that depends on O-I's glass packaging products, causing concern among retailers and businesses. Workers want to be recognized and respected for the contribution they have made to this company and the sacrifices they have made in previous contract renewals.

The last round of negotiations took place on 25 May,  but no decent offer was made from the employer’s side. A date for a new meeting has yet to be fixed.

“The strike in Montreal is a testament to the power of collective action and the unwavering determination of workers to improve their working conditions. We express our solidarity and strongly support the fight of our brothers and sisters at Pointe-Saint-Charles,”

says Alex Ivanou, IndustriALL materials director.