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Steelworkers protest shareholders’ meeting

By: 
Alex Thomson

April 27, 2014

 
On Wednesday April 17, approximately 50 Toronto Steelworkers gathered on the sidewalk in front of the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. They were members of Steelworkers’ Local 9175 and the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council who were there to protest the shareholders’ meeting of Carnival Cruises and bring attention to the ongoing seven-month strike at Crown Holdings’ Toronto plant
 
The Steelworkers carried life jackets and wore t-shirts that said “Ask me about Arnold Donald Carnival CEO” and “Should the middle class be able to take cruises?” The occasion was a Carnival Cruises’ shareholder meeting and the focus of the protest was the CEO of Carnival Cruises, Arnold Donald, who is also on the Board of Directors of Crown Holdings.  As a member of the Crown Holdings Board of Directors, Donald can bring pressure on Crown Holdings to negotiate a fair contract with Local 9175. Canadian Steelworkers have launched a boycott of Carnival Cruises to bring pressure on Donald to use his influence this way.
 
While the protest was carried out on the sidewalk, other Steelworkers holding proxy Carnival Cruises shareholder votes attended the meeting, where they took the opportunity to ask Donald some pointed questions from the floor. Once the meeting was over, they were able to bring their concerns to Arnold Donald personally. The Steelworkers who attended the meeting were interviewed by a reporter from Business Week, which led to an article on the influential business magazine’s website.
 
The approximately 150 members of USW Local 9175 hope that these actions will bring the employer back to the bargaining table for a fair settlement without the major concessions, such as a two-tiered wage system, that the very profitable Crown Holdings is demanding. Another protest was planned for the Crown Holdings shareholders’ meeting to be held at the Crown head office in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 24.
 
For more information on the Crown strike visit www.takebacksnomore.ca.
 
If you like this article, register now for Marxism 2014: Resisting a System in Crisis, a weekend-long political conference June 14-15 in Toronto. Sessions include “Taking on the anti-union threat in Ontario and Quebec,” “The birth of industrial unionism in Canada 1937-46” and “Fighting Hudak's attack on workers rights.”

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