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Major Union Ramps Up Fight With Carnival Corp. CEO

Union fight with third-party sees USW turn its sites on Carnival, create fear/smear campaign targeting travel industry
11-21-2013  By: Zachary-Cy Vanasse
Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation & PLC
Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation & plc
United Steelworkers (USW) continues to campaign against the Carnival Corporation.

Last month the union handed out leaflets at the cruise company's headquarters in Florida to protest the role of Carnival CEO Arnold Donald, who also serves as director for Crown Holdings, and now the union is attempting to bring travel agents into its third-party fight with the cruise company.

United Steelworkers have been locked into a battle with Crown Holdings, one of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage containers, over a labour dispute at the U.S.-based company's Toronto plant, which workers began picketing in early September.

The union is now campaigning against all of the company's directors, which includes the Carnival Corporation's CEO.

"The USW believes that by supporting Crown Holdings in its forced strike, Arnold Donald is undermining Carnival's business model that relies on good wages and employer-paid leave to fill Carnival's ships," the union said via release, after ramping up efforts in late October.

"Donald's role in the Crown strike is bringing unwanted attention to Carnival at a time when the company is recovering from numerous setbacks and blows to its image due to the Costa Concordia disaster and other major incidents of cruise ships malfunctioning at sea, stranded passengers and on-board fatalities," the union said.

USW looked to bring agents into its battle with Carnival Corporations earlier this week when it sent out an email that asked "Are Carnival cruises worth recommending? Are travel agents protected?"

The email, which USW says was sent to some 16,000 travel agents, cites the Costa Concordia disaster, allegations of health and safety issues, the Carnival Dream power outage and the fire aboard the Dawn Princess, as well as USW's own anti-Arnold Donald campaign, as reasons agents should be wary of selling Carnival cruises.

The email also asks if travel agents or their agencies will be liable for a "passengers disastrous experience while on vacation?" before answering its own question with "Yes, travel agents can, in certain circumstances, be held liable, at least in part, when things go wrong during travel."

"With Carnival's track record in the last two years, recommending and selling Carnival cruises may simply not be worth the risk. Even more so, travel agents should act responsibly and level with their clients about the risks passengers may be taking in booking a Carnival cruise," reads the email.

The final line of the USW sent email describes the message as a "public service announcement brought to you by the United Steelworkers."

"We typically would not comment on something like this because it is part of a union campaign in another industry, not related to cruising, to influence bargaining. It is clearly inaccurate and misleading for its own purposes," Roger Frizzell, Carnival Corp., senior vice-president & communications officer, told THN in response.

Many of the Toronto plant workers on strike travelled to Crown Holdings' headquarters in Philadelphia on Tuesday to protest further.

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