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Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is up to Union-Busting

 

We think readers and, particularly, Ontario teachers, would be interested to learn what the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has been up to lately. In a word, union-busting.


The pension plan, which is funded by contributions by and on behalf of Ontario’s unionized teachers, is waging a ruthless, vindictive campaign of harassment, intimidation and threats against U.S. workers of a company it owns: Exal.


In 2010, teachers acquired a controlling stake in Exal, an Ohio firm that makes aluminum bottles and cans and named three directors to its board to actively manage its investment.


When workers began to organize with the Teamsters union in late 2012, they were met by a vicious campaign of fear and intimidation by teachers’ management, which included coercive attempts to get workers to vote against the union drive by showing them a ballot with the ‘No’ box checked.


The U.S. National Labor Relations Board, responsible for enforcing labour laws, determined that Exal illegally harassed, interrogated, threatened and spied on union supporters.


The company settled the charges by posting a notice that it would not violate the workers’ rights again.


Teachers’ management of Exal not only violates U.S. labour law but internationally accepted standards for human rights. In addition, they’ve exposed teachers and its investment at Exal to both reputational and financial risk.


Creating a divisive and hostile work environment at the company’s only North American manufacturing facility is just bad business.


Ontario teachers should demand that the stewards of their retirement security enforce the principles of responsibility and respect the core values of the plan and its participants.


ROBERT BOUVIER, President, Teamsters Canada, Laval, Quebec

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