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Co-op is running out of excuses to avoid bargaining

January 29, 2020 - 12:00 AM

REGINA—Unifor extended another offer to Co-op senior management to return to the bargaining table to negotiate a fair collective agreement for the highly skilled workers locked out of work since December 5, 2019.

“Co-op’s all-or-nothing tactics are hurting families and preventing a peaceful resolution to the lock out,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It is crystal clear that Co-op has no intention of returning to the bargaining table. Therefore, we are insisting that Premier Scott Moe declare that parties have 48 hours to come to a deal before enforcing binding arbitration.”

Unifor has offered to remove multiple fences at refinery entrances today, something Co-op executives have claimed are a pre-condition to bargaining.

“Co-op is running out of excuses to avoid resolving the dispute they started almost two months ago,” said Dias. “All parties affected, the Premier, the Chief of Police, the Mayor, and the union all understand that the only place this will be resolved is at the bargaining table.”

Unifor already amended two proposals that Co-op claimed were impeding talks. Last week the union reached out to Premier Moe and the Minister of Labour Don Morgan to request that the provincial government use its powers under existing legislation to compel parties to resume bargaining.

Dias added that if the company refuses to resume negotiations, Unifor has asked the provincial government to appoint an arbitrator. During the process of binding arbitration, the lockout would end, allowing Local 594 members to return to work.  

Nearly 800 highly skilled members of Unifor Local 594 remain locked out from the Co-op Refinery, which continues to rely on unqualified scab workers and managers to operate the refinery.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org  or 778-903-6549 (cell).