"It's not just Local 325 members fighting, it's all 390,000 of us." — Bert Blundon, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer
Ottawa (16 March 2021) — An injury to one is an injury to all — that's the message the 390,000-member-strong National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is sending to the CEO of Molson Coors after locking out 300 members of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers (CUBGW), Local 325. CUBGW Local 325 is a Component of NUPGE.
Backed by 390,000 members strong
"These members have been deemed essential workers and have been putting in their all since the start of the COVID-19 lock-downs," said Bert Blundon, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer. "They've adapted to all the changes, keeping their products safe and working harder than ever. Forcing them out of work is a terrible way to treat dedicated staff."
"That's one of the great things about being part of a large national union, you're never alone in your fight," said Blundon. "We put our strength and resources behind our members 100%."
"We know members from across the country are with us in our fight for a decent collective agreement. We appreciate their advice, their support and their strength," said Gaurav Sharma, President of CUBGW Local 325.
At a recent National Executive Board meeting of NUPGE, the lock-out of Local 325 was discussed at length. "Leaders from our 10 Components committed — without hesitation — to supporting the members in any and every way possible," noted Blundon. "It's not just Local 325 fighting, it's all 390,000 of us."
Another concessionary round of bargaining
Local 325 had been at the bargaining table with multi-billion dollar corporation Molson Coors for over 17 weeks when they were told by email that the employer was locking them out.
"It's shocking, given that we were making progress on the big issues," said Sharma. "And even more shocking since we've been deemed essential workers."
The main issues have been wages, scheduling and pensions. Proposals have tried to create divides between different groups working within the brewery — young and older workers, new hires and senior employees.
"It's a typical divide and conquer approach, but we're not playing that game," said Sharma. "We're strong in our Local, and we're strong with the hundreds of thousands of members across Canada."
"What we are interested in is getting back to the table to negotiate a fair and reasonable collective agreement," he said. "We hope the company is interested in that, too."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Its mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE