For Immediate Release: Unifor 594 responds to work camp construction at Co-op Refinery

October 15, 2019 – Regina

The union representing workers at the Co-op Refinery in Regina sees the construction of an on-site work camp by the Company as a show of bad faith when negotiations have not concluded.

In response to remarks made by VP of refinery operations to the press, Unifor 594 president Kevin Bittman says, “If they really care about “the safety of our people and our community”, they would do whatever it takes to keep Unifor 594 members working- the highly skilled, experienced, loyal team that holds the key to Refinery safety.”

In response to Mr. Le Dressay’s suggestion that the company’s “primary goal is to reach a fair deal with our union and keep our employees working,” Mr. Bittman says:

“Actions speak louder than words, Gil.”

“The only time the company thinks about fairness is when it makes for a convenient sound bite.”

Unifor 594 declared an impasse on September 26 and began mediation in good faith.

“Camps for replacement workers are the opposite of good faith,” adds Bittman.

At issue is the Union’s position on pension: it wants its members to have choice and protection to ensure pension security for every worker — “Anything less would be an unnecessary concession.” — whereas the company wants to eliminate choice.

After two days of hearing the union’s unwavering message last week, the mediator refused to admit there is no deal to be made, giving the Company more time to “crunch the numbers” and consult their “decision makers”.

Says Bittman: “They didn’t need time to consult “decision makers”, just time to erect fences and bring in trailers for scabs.”

As for numbers, the union says it has done all the crunching that matters:

“$3,013,698 million dollars per day in profit equals more than enough to respect Co-op Refinery workers.”

Unifor 594 represents 800+ workers who work 24-7 365 days a year to keep the Co-op Refinery safe and profitable.

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Richard Exner