Canadian Manufacturing

Union calls out US firm over plans to close Ont. packaging plant

Graphic Packaging closing Brampton, Ont., plant, cutting 150 jobs

TORONTO—The union representing workers at a soon-to-close packaging plant near Toronto is calling out the U.S. company for 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.

“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.

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.”

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