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Unifor outraged at Regina Police denial of lawful picket

February 7, 2020 - 12:00 AM

February 07, 2020

REGINA – Unifor is outraged at the actions of the Regina Police Service to deny lawful picketing by locked-out workers at Co-op Refinery.

“Regina Police blocking access to picket locations at the bidding of Co-op Refinery is a clear violation of Charter rights,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

This morning Regina Police blocked access on Ninth Avenue North between McDonald and Winnipeg streets to all picketers while escorting Co-op trucks through to the refinery as uniformed officers checked the trucker’s names off lists at the barriers. Police then took the additional step of removing the workers’ warming and bathroom facilities from the sites.

“First Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) locks workers out in the dead of winter, then the Regina Police take away their right to picket, but also make sure to cruelly take away the picketers’ limited access to warming shelters and washroom facilities,” said Dias. “No judge ruled to freeze out the picketers and refuse to allow them to go to the bathroom. The Regina Police Service has taken the law into their own hands.”

As police escalated tensions on day 64 of the lockout, Unifor once again called on Premier Scott Moe and FCL to bring an immediate end to the dispute by granting an independent provincially-appointed mediator the power to arbitrate if the parties are unable to come to an agreement after seven days of bargaining.

Yesterday the union outlined steps to end the lockout at the Co-op Refinery and return Unifor Local 594 members back to work as early as Monday February 10.

“A clear negotiation deadline followed by binding arbitration is the only guaranteed way to end this dispute,” said Dias. “If FCL is at all serious about wanting to resolve this and restore service to their customers they would agree.”

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 Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).