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Union crying foul over U.S. firm’s plans to close Ont. plastic packaging plant

The union representing workers at a soon-to-close packaging plant near Toronto is accusing the U.S. company of a lack of compassion for employees.


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July 31, 2013 by Canadian Plastics

The union representing workers at a soon-to-close packaging plant near Toronto is accusing the U.S. company of a lack of compassion for employees.

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada is crying foul over Atlanta-based Graphic Packaging’s recently-announced plans to close its Brampton, Ont., plastic packaging facility in September, eliminating 150 jobs.

The company manufactures plastic packaging for a range of industries. The closure was announced on July 22 and will take effect on September 13.

“Many employees have spent most of their working lives at this plant and now the U.S.-based company simply wants to vacate without a serious discussion with its workforce,” CEP Ontario region vice-president Dave Moffat said in a statement. “We are talking about workers who have put in up to 40 years at the plant and who deserve some say in the plant’s closure as well as fair compensation.”

According to the union, it has worked with the company to avoid closure, including accepting wage cuts of as much as 20 per cent, and benefit reductions.

The company reported a sharp fall in net income in the second quarter, dropping to $21.2 million from $42.4 million. The Brampton facility has been in operation for decades under various owners. It started out under Canadian Industries Limited, before the company changed its name to CIL Inc. Ownership changed hands several times until Graphic Packaging purchased the plant several years ago.

But the union claims Graphic Packaging’s reported difficulties are due to debt incurred as a result of various mergers and acquisitions. “Companies have a responsibility towards their employees and the community in which they are,” Moffat said. “Offering recognition and dignity to individuals who have worked in the plant for decades is a small but important gesture to show the company cares. In this case it is clear Graphic Packaging does not.”