Laval, March 11, 2018 – Workers at the Molson Brewery on Notre-Dame Street in Montréal voted in favor of their employer’s final offers at a union meeting on Sunday.
Teamsters Local Union 1999 represents the plant’s 550 brewery, delivery, and bottling workers. They had rejected their employer’s two previous offers, first by 57% and again by 52%, and had voted on February 25 to authorize strike action by a margin of 87%.
Sticking points at the bargaining table included the pension plan, group insurance and wages.
Over 438 workers were present at Sunday’s union meeting.
Workers remain anxious over the plant’s planned move to the South Shore of Montréal. Molson’s decision to shift production from bottled beer to canned beer over the past years has led to dozens of job losses. Teamster members are concerned that the company will stop bottling beer altogether; brown beer bottles are eco-friendlier than cans and help maintain hundreds of quality jobs.
Teamsters have been waiting for months to meet with the provincial Minister of Environment, Isabelle Melançon, to discuss the future of the Recyc-Québec agreement.
Brewers, soft drink manufacturers and retailers are all bound by the Recyc-Québec agreement, which underpins the deposit-refund system in place in Quebec since 1984. This agreement stems from the Act respecting the sale and distribution of beer and soft drinks in non-returnable containers.
Until 2016, brewers paid penalties when they sold more than 37% of their beer in cans. But is this still the case? Moreover, the non-renewal of the agreement created a regulatory void that may encourage brewers to produce only beer cans.
In Québec, 55% of beer is sold in cans. Brewers remains relatively unscathed by government fines and continue to favour cans.
Nearly one out of three cans end up in a landfill, while 98% brown beer bottles are recycled and reused over 17 times.
Teamsters represent close to 125,000 members in Canada, including 45,000 in Québec. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
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