Since Feb. 20, 2021, Molson Coors company has locked out 300 of its workers, unionized with Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers (CUBGW) Local 325, at their Toronto brewery. On Feb. 22, Labour Fightback explained that the struggle of these workers to defend good union jobs is the fight of the entire working class. With this in mind, several of our activists went ahead to jumpstart a public solidarity campaign with the approval of the executive of Local 325 and the support of other allies and comrades in the labour movement.
On Feb. 27, fifteen Labour Fightback activists and allies organized a visit to the picket lines. We were greeted with a very warm welcome, and invited to stand around barrel fires outside the pickets, while hearing stories about the conditions at the workplace and the awful treatment by the bosses. One worker told us that despite COVID-19, precautions were not taken seriously by management, and that the constant pursuit of profits was in many instances put ahead of the safety and wellbeing of the workers at the brewery. Another worker explained that the existing hours and wages already put extreme pressure on the workers and their families. Couples have gotten divorced because of the job, with difficult physical and psychological consequences as a result. Another worker was disgusted by the idea of the two-tier pension system that was being imposed by the company, essentially throwing away the guaranteed right of workers to an income after retirement.
We promoted the visit on social media to garner attention and to push for broader solidarity visits from the entire labour movement. Our slogans included anti-scab slogans as managers of the brewery in Etobicoke continued production without the locked out workers. Workers were clearly angry at the fact that the company had put up advertisements for replacement workers (scabs) online three weeks prior to the lockout. The company was essentially preparing to starve the workers on the picket lines, demonstrating their clear intention to break their spirits and eventually break the union.
At the Molson Toronto brewery picket lines today with locked out Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local…Posted by Fightback on Saturday, February 27, 2021
A few days after the visit, labour allies launched a solidarity group on Facebook to more widely promote the campaign in the labour movement. On Mar. 7, allies organized another visit through this Facebook page; this time more than two dozen activists and allies showed up. There have also been daily visits from smaller groups and individuals from the labour movement who have gone to the lines to show solidarity.
On Mar. 7, the solidarity group also promoted the idea of cross-border solidarity with 200 oil refinery workers locked out in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Teamsters Local 120. Here is the video of the solidarity statement from Local 325 and group members. The form of cross-border solidarity must be replicated across the labour movement as it will strike fear in the heart of Molson Coors, a company that operates in Canada and the United States.
The atmosphere of working class comradery and the willingness to fight against corporate injustice is contagious on the picket lines and we encourage more labour allies to build this solidarity campaign with us.
End the lockout!
Support brewery workers!
Say no to scabs!
Build the solidarity campaign!
Victory to CUBGW Local 325!
The next solidarity visit to the Molson lockout picket lines is occurring on Mar. 17, at 6pm. The location is: 33 Carlingview Drive, Etobicoke, M9W5E4. If you can not make this solidarity visit, please join the lines at any time as they are 24/7! Follow the CUBGW Local 325 pages for more information:
Molson Solidarity Group Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/493827694949951