February 5, 2020
REGINA– Regina Police have escalated their action against the peaceful, family-focused Unifor picket lines surrounding the Co-op Refinery, arresting four people early this morning.
“For Regina Police to side with the employer and arrest lawful, peaceful picketers is a disgrace and shows the unjust obstacles workers face simply to protect what they already have,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We have been in and continue to be in conversation about the mediation process Premier Moe has offered, which is currently our best option to get the company back to the bargaining table and end this dispute.”
Thorough conversations took place last week between the union and the Regina Police Service (RPS) about ensuring safe and quick emergency access to the refinery site. RPS issued a statement of reassurance to the public on February 3 that the dispute posed no danger to the public and even that RPS “respects the right of Unifor to peaceful, lawful and safe protest.”
“These types of interventions from the RPS during critical times are not helpful and are contrary to what police are supposed to be doing which is keeping the peace and de-escalating this tense situation,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President. “In our discussions, Police Chief Bray said he would continue to have conversations with us and obviously that isn’t happening or he would have known we were in discussions concerning mediation.”
Perhaps most concerning for the locked out members of Unifor Local 594 is the evidence RPS colluded with the employer prior to these arrests.
“The employer security team was aware that the arrests were going to happen as they had five guards filming before the police showed up, further confirming that the employer and RPS or some officers there are working together and are not unbiased,” said Doherty.
Nearly 800 highly skilled members of Unifor Local 594 were locked out from the Co-op Refinery on December 5, 2019. The refinery is operating at reduced capacity with unqualified scab workers and managers.
For media inquiries or to arrange interviews, please contact Unifor’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).