Unifor calling for Co-op boycott amid refinery labour dispute
REGINA -- Unifor is calling for a nationwide boycott of Federated Co-operatives Limited, after 10 days of picketing from workers at the Regina refinery.
Members of Unifor 594 were locked out of the refinery on December 5, and have been on the picket lines since.
“We had to escalate our action to try and get an end to this dispute, and we’re going to continue to escalate,” said Scott Doherty, the executive assistant to the national president of Unifor.
The Co-op Refinery Complex responded to the boycott with a statement Sunday.
“Over the past week, Unifor has demonstrated that they have no respect for the hard-working truck drivers who haul fuel from our refinery and no respect for Western Canadian farmers who need fuel to dry and haul their grain during a very difficult crop year.”
“Unifor is now demonstrating that same lack of respect for Co-op members across Western Canada that work hard to support our economy.”
The boycott campaign will involve television and radio ads, billboards, mail, and secondary pickets at retail locations across Canada.
“Think about what you’re doing, you’re allowing a corporation of greed to continue to profit when you have 750 people on a picket line in minus 26, with a corporation that doesn’t care about their employees,” said Doherty.
“Take a second thought and go somewhere else and buy your gas, go somewhere else and buy your groceries for Christmas.”
Unifor says bargaining has stalled between the union and Co-op due to worker pension negotiations. There is currently no further bargaining meetings scheduled.
“This company made $2.5 billion since our last concession when we went to a defined contribution plan for new hires, and we’re not going to go backwards anymore,” said Kevin Bittman, the president of Unifor 594.
Co-op continued its statement saying Unifor has not offered a counter proposal throughout the negotiation process.
“Our deal includes an 11.75 per cent wage increase, a performance bonus plan and pension choice. The CRC is only asking that employees now begin to pay into their pension like almost every other Canadian with a company-provided pension plan.”