February 14, 2020
REGINA – Unifor was disappointed to watch new scab trailers arrive at the Co-op Refinery yesterday, just a day after Federated Cooperatives Limited (FCL) agreed to begin talks with assistance of a provincially appointed special mediator to end the 71-day lockout.
“We have a great deal of confidence in mediator Vince Ready but our experience with FCL, and this latest stunt, gives us little confidence this employer’s willingness to bargain,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We’ve seen too many tactics to prolong this dispute, but we will proceed in good faith and hope the mediation process will be a turning point.”
“Imagine how our members felt, locked out in minus 40 windchills for ten weeks now and they have to move aside for new trailers to house the scabs who are stealing their wages?” said Kevin Bittman, President of Unifor Local 594. “We just hope Premier Scott Moe is also watching and can appreciate what we are dealing with because FCL’s action give no indication they have any interest in reached a fair deal.”
In light of FCL’s continued use of scabs, Unifor members across the country will continue secondary picketing to promote the boycott of all Co-op retailers and actions such as the picketing underway in Prince George B.C. and Saskatoon today will continue.
On February 12, Unifor and FCL accepted Premier Moe’s offer of special mediation with a 20-day timeline to reach an agreement. After 20 days, special mediator Ready must report-back to government.
“Scott Banda has a well-earned reputation of being anti-worker, and has a long history of instigating contentious labour disputes, including prolonged job actions in Moose Jaw, Calgary, and now Regina,” said Dias,
When FCL re-joined Unifor at the bargaining table briefly last month, it brought a long list of additional and egregious concessions.
“Cooperatives are meant to serve local members, not out-of-province scabs who are taking their earnings elsewhere. How much longer will Co-op board members tolerate Banda’s careless actions which are clearly causing damage to Co-op’s brand and legacy,” said Dias.
For media inquiries please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).