Co-op members, Unifor supporters, gather for protest at gas bar
REGINA -- Co-op members and Unifor supporters rallied at a Co-op gas bar in North Regina on Monday.
They say they are not happy with the way the company has handled the labour dispute at the Co-op Refinery Complex.
"As long as we stand back and do nothing, our community pays the price,” said Jason Moreside, organizer of the "Joe Public vs Co-op" rally.
Moreside has been a Co-op member for the past five years, he helped organize the rally, which he says is to show Federated Co-operatives Limited CEO Scott Banda that the company doesn't have all of the public's support.
"Today, we're just banding together as Joe Public to tell Co-op how we really feel,” Moreside said.
The picketers say the Co-operative has lost sight of the values it was created on over the course of the labour dispute, which has stretched to over 70 days.
"I'm from a small town where the Co-ops are and they have supported my community. Right now, I do not feel they're supporting any more, I feel they're putting the profit ahead of the people and to me, in my community, that's not okay,” Moreside said.
Organizers alerted the Regina Police Service about the rally and police were on scene observing the situation. A dozen vehicles also pulled into the gas station to fill up during the protest without incident.
Unifor Local 594 President Kevin Bittman says it will be best for the community for the two sides to reach an agreement sooner than later.
"It's not good when the community is fractured, people aren't spending money in the community, there's animosity amongst groups and it's time that this ends, it's been long enough," Bittman said.
Co-op and Unifor will begin negotiations again on Tuesday, this time with the help of a special mediator. The mediation process will last 20 days.