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Beer workers at Molson Coors in Toronto on strike after contract talks stall

CityNews | posted Friday, Jan 13th, 2017

crossbeer

Workers at Molson Coors in Toronto have walked off the job after a strike deadline came and went at noon ET on Thursday.

Some 320 employees of the brewery are on the picket line, comprising producers, brewers, packagers, maintenance and warehouse personnel at the Carlingview Drive facility.

The two sides have been negotiating since last October. The union has been without a contract since New Year’s Eve.

According to the union, the company is looking for a 7 per cent reduction in wages, pensions and benefits.

The union says it has offered up reductions in overtime pay and the hiring of more temporary workers. They’ve also offered to give the company 10 per cent co-pay for benefits.

Robert Folk, the president of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local 325, which has represented the workers at the Carlingview facility for 55 years, accuses the company of bargaining in bad faith.

“They are trying to eliminate the middle class,” Folk tells CityNews.

Folk says this is the first labour dispute at the company since 1997. He says the decisions are coming from corporate offices in Colorado, where the mandate is to “lower wages.”

The union says there is no danger of a beer shortage in the short term, noting that the company has been storing beer off-site at two different warehouses in anticipation of a work stoppage.

Molson Coors produces 24 brands of beer including Canadian, Coors Light, Molson XXX and Rickard’s.

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