March 29, 2020
With the dispute dragging on over the 100-day mark it has become abundantly clear that FCL has very little interest in finding a fair deal. Turning down the highly regarded Vince Ready’s recommendations and trying to demand more concessions is just the latest affront.
This has been a long and arduous assault by a greedy corporation intent on inflicting suffering on its own employees who they claim to “respect”, and completely defying the co-operative principles they were founded on.
On March 5th, Unifor 594 filed two Unfair Labour Practice applications, Unfair Labour Practice – Industrial Espionage and Unfair Labour Practice – Surface Bargaining with the Saskatchewan Labour Board against the Co-op Refinery. The allegations, not yet proven, include: following members to their homes, withholding money rightly owed to them, and completely and utterly abandoning the bargaining process belies the depths of depravity that they will go to.
Shortly after the lockout began, the union contends that the Co-op began a concerted campaign of psychological attacks on union members including preventing workers from receiving their annual Savings Plan benefits. This is money that members have previously contributed to their individual accounts and have already paid taxes on. The Co-op went so far as to hide a management plan Trustee so that they could not be served papers to allow court proceedings to commence.
Since negotiations began in January 2019, both sides have gone back and forth on issues several times. But only the Co-op has repeatedly moved the goalposts further away from a new collective agreement. They have resurrected several concessions (after the Union previously bargained them away by dropping their own proposals). The mediation process didn’t seem to change anything for the Co-op. The Special Mediators’ report was intended to be a fair middle ground for both parties, but the Co-op used it as a starting point to ask for more concessions. They appear to be using the definition of surface bargaining as a strategy playbook rather than something to be avoided.
With apparently little to no regard for the law, its become abundantly clear that FCL will go to every extreme to pressure members into accepting a bad deal. It appears Co-op hired security contractors would record union members, and going as far to follow them to their homes was a common occurrence. It looks as though it is all in an attempt to coerce workers into giving up the fight for their jobs.
To read the Union’s Unfair Labour Practice applications in their entirety please click the links below.