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Unifor outraged at extreme police escalation at Co-op Refinery

Polics vehicles parked at a picket site.
January 20, 2020 - 12:00 AM

REGINA−After hundreds of Unifor members from across Canada came out to peacefully support locked out Co-op Refinery workers, the Regina Police chose to escalate the situation with heavy handed and extreme tactics, including the arrest of Unifor National President Jerry Dias and Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle.

“The Regina Police acted by arresting our members on a picket line that exists only because of Co-op’s shameful decision to lockout workers,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Secretary-Treasurer. “Tonight’s escalation was completely unnecessary and on a level I have rarely witnessed in recent years. We are calling on the Regina Police to immediately de-escalate and stop their heavy-handed tactics aimed at inflaming tensions on a peaceful and legal picket line.”

After announcing that Unifor members would peacefully halt vehicles from entering the Co-op Refinery today, the Regina Police arrested more than a dozen Unifor members, staff and elected leaders who were peacefully picketing in support of locked Unifor Local 594 members.

“We will continue to hold the line and do whatever it takes to defend the rights of Co-op Refinery members and all workers,” said Scott Doherty, Assistant to Unifor’s National President and lead negotiator. “But in order to ensure that this dispute is resolved peacefully at the bargaining table the Regina police must halt the unprovoked arrest of our members.”

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’s Director of Communications, Natalie Clancy, at or 416-707-5794 (cell).