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Unions speak out against Crown with field actions

28 April, 2014Following the announced series of protest actions scheduled across the globe in conjunction with the annual shareholders meeting of Crown Holdings, IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates in North America and Europe continue to build resistance against Crown Holdings over bad corporate behaviours around the world.

On April 24 protest actions took place in Philadelphia, U.S. where Crown Holdings held its annual shareholders meeting with participation of union representatives in capacity of shareholder. However in an unprecedented bid to avoid uncomfortable questions the Crown Holdings CEO John Conway announced only written questions would be answered. However he even ignored the written questions from shareholders concerning the company’s anti-labour practices both in Europe and North America.

Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary condemned Conway saying, “This is unprecedented, not only Crown Holdings shows disrespect to its workers who in daily hardship are growing its wealth, but the company’s arrogance goes as far as to ignore the concerns of their shareholders in the issues that have a direct impact on company’s future. We will not stop there and will continue escalating our solidarity campaign together with the workers of Crown Holdings, and we render the leadership of the company accountable for all unsustainability the company will face in the future.”

Earlier the same day in Turkey, two strikers, members of the United Steelworkers Local 9176, Stephen McHugh and Deborah Amos participated in a press conference organized by the IndustriALL’s Turkish affiliate Birlesik Metal-Is held in Izmit. At the press conference Birlesik Metal-Is leadership and the USW strikers revealed to the press different facts about the company misbehaviour including dismissal of four union organizers under false accusations as well as argued against the rumours distributed by the company about relocation of the Crown production plant in Turkey following the supreme court decision confirming that Birlesik Metal-Is is the legal and legitimate bargaining agent without further resort for the company.

The very next day, 25 April, the delegation of IndustriALL Global Union composed of the strikers McHugh and Amos, activists of IndustriALL’s Swiss affiliate UNIA and representatives from the head office met representatives of the Crown European division in Baar, Switzerland. The delegation exposed the union busting practices applied by the company against its workers in Turkey and Canada and submitted a letter with union demands to the company. The delegation was assured that the message would be forwarded to the senior leadership of Crown Holdings.

The next series of actions are taking place in Italy and France.