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Teamsters Call On Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to Stop Abuse of U.S. Workers

Teamsters, EXAL Corp. Workers Rally to Hold Canadian Investor Accountable
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Stephane Lacroix

(TORONTO) –– Teamsters rallied outside the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers’) offices today, publicly calling on Teachers’ to stop worker and human rights abuses at EXAL Corp., an aluminum bottle manufacturer in Youngstown, Ohio. EXAL is owned and actively managed by the Canadian pension plan. View photos from the rally, here.

The demonstration took place during Toronto’s morning rush hour. Dozens of Teamsters chanted demands urging Teachers' to stop using the hard-earned pension assets of Ontario's unionized teachers to deny U.S. workers their right to organize and collectively bargain.

“Teachers’ proclaims a commitment to socially responsible investing, while actively promoting and financing a vicious campaign of fear and intimidation against workers in the United States at EXAL,” said Robert Bouvier, President of Teamsters Canada. “We are here to call on Teachers’ to step up and end this worker abuse.”

“We are united in the fight to protect the rights of workers in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. We will hold the Teachers’ accountable to their commitments as a responsible investor,” said Randy Doner, President of Teamsters Joint Council 52 in Canada. 

After EXAL workers began organizing with Teamsters Local 377 in Youngstown, Ohio, early in 2012, management began aggressively intimidating and retaliating against union supporters.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency responsible for enforcing labor law in the U.S., found that EXAL unlawfully harassed, interrogated, threatened and spied on workers who support joining the Teamsters.

“I am not the only one who lost everything. Management wanted to make an example of me for taking on the role of the union activist,” said Daniel Szenborn, a seven-year EXAL employee in Youngstown who was terminated by the company in February. The NLRB found that Szenborn was harassed and spied on by EXAL management

“EXAL Corporation and Teachers’ continue to subject workers to intimidation and harassment, simply because the workers want to better their lives and join the union,” said Ralph “Sam” Cook, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 377. “All we want is for these workers to be able to exercise their right to hold a fair election free from management influence or interference." Teachers’ has refused repeated calls by the Teamsters, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress to take action to protect EXAL workers. As EXAL’s controlling owner, the pension plan has three representatives directly from the ranks of its Teachers’ Private Capital Division serving on EXAL’s board.

EXAL manufactures aluminum bottles for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, as well as Anheuser-Busch InBev brands, including Budweiser and Bud LightThe Teamsters represent 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, was founded in 1903 and represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

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