Day 48 of Lockout of Co-op Refinery Workers Featured Another Rally at the Complex

Unifor held another rally outside of the Co-op Refinery Complex for day 48 of the lockout impacting local 594 members.

The union has been joined by several unions from across the province and country, as well as other Unifor members coming to Regina from coast to coast.

594 President Kevin Bittman has been appreciative of the support. He said Co-op is only telling half of the truth.

“The company says they only want us to pay into our pension, 11% more to be exact, but they forget to mention they also want to change the pension formula from 2% to 1.75%, and eliminate indexing going forward.”

Unifor local 594 has been battling with Federated Co-op for a fair deal and protection of their pensions. While FCL says they are offering an 11.75% raise over four years and pension choice, Unifor says their pensions would be gutted.

Bittman said there’s also misinformation regarding a performance bonus being offered by the Co-op.

“They say in the media they’re offering a performance bonus that won’t be in the collective bargaining agreement and can be changed whenever the employer wants,” Bittman said. “They forget to mention that they want to eliminate a savings plan that is in a collective bargaining agreement, so what we say is ‘no thanks, we’ll keep what we fairly bargained for.’”

Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff said if Co-op can get away with taking away pensions, the line may not stop there.

“Any employer who believes these tactics are going to gain some foothold to defeat our movement, they’re wrong,” Yussuf said. “They need to understand one thing; as a movement, we’ve been around for hundreds of years in this country, and we’ll be around much longer than this employer.”

When asked about the Unifor local 594 contempt of court order, the union says they will continue to hold the line and that the dispute will not be resolved in the courts.

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