Canada: Molson Coors reaches agreement with locked-out workers at Toronto brewery
Workers at one of Molsons biggest breweries in the country will be heading back to work on April 6, after ratifying a contract agreement with the company to end a six-week lockout, The Standard reported.
Members of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers, Local 325, were locked out of the Toronto brewery on Carlingview Drive on Feb. 20.
Local 325 members approved the deal 149-117 in voting that took place Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4, according to sources familiar with the vote who werent officially authorized to speak publicly about the deal. Union leadership had recommended approval of the deal, which was reached on April 1.
Molson Coors Canada CEO Fred Landtmeters said in an emailed statement the company was excited to have reached an agreement.
Molson Coors has a long history of providing well-paying jobs that help our employees support themselves and their families and we are excited to have reached an agreement with Local 325 that is both fair to employees and keeps our brewery competitive in a changing market, Landtmeters said.
Local 325 president Gaurav Sharma didnt respond to requests for comment.
The new collective agreement approved by the union members includes many of the same contentious provisions that Local 325 had fought bitterly against during weeks of negotiations leading up to the lockout, including keeping a two-tier wage structure, shifting employees to a defined contribution pension system, and a new continental scheduling system that could see some employees working 12-hour shifts.
The union had asked the company to gradually eliminate the two-tier wage system, which had been in place at the plant since 2010.
The biggest differences between the companys final offer rejected in February and the one approved this weekend are that the latest agreement is for four years, not three; the transition to the new pension will be phased in over three years; and there will be 1.5 overtime pay for some of the 12-hour shifts. Weekend shifts will also be more widely spread among workers at the plant. The deal approved on the weekend didnt include a signing bonus, unlike the February offer, which had offered a C$1,000 bonus.
The Toronto brewery, on Carlingview Drive near Pearson airport, is one of Molsons biggest in the country, producing dozens of brands. The plant produces three million hectolitres of beer per year. Thats 300 million litres, or roughly equivalent to 880 million bottles of beer.
Roughly 20 per cent of the brewerys production is dedicated to archrival Labatt Blue and Blue Light destined for the U.S. market. Belgiums AB-InBev was forced to divest Labatt brands from its U.S. portfolio in 2008 because of antitrust concerns following the takeover of Anheuser-Busch.
Ten years ago, Molson boosted the size of the brewery with a C$24-million renovation, adding six massive tanks that rolled down the highway to Toronto from the port of Hamilton.
The company announced last year that it would be eliminating almost 200 jobs in Quebec by the end of 2021 after a new brewery south of Montreal is completed.
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