Members of Unifor Local 594 are nearing the end of their second week on the picket line in their collective bargaining dispute at the Federated Co-op Refinery in Regina. At the center of the dispute is the Unifor members’ struggle to defend their hard-earned pension benefits.
FCL’s senior management locked out unionized workers at the refinery following a 97 percent strike vote by members of Unifor Local 594. The employer’s tactics include the hiring and housing of some 200 so-called replacement workers who, along with management personnel, are attempting to keep the refinery operating.
“This is a dispute that many present and retired GSU members will relate to as they recall their fight with Viterra ten years ago to protect the pension benefits they had earned,” said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. “In the face of determined efforts by FCL to break the resolve of Unifor members, we can stand by and watch or we can support our neighbours in their fight to defend what they have earned.”
“GSU’s executive committee is asking GSU members across Saskatchewan to show solidarity with the locked-out members of Unifor Local 594 by fueling up your vehicles at retailers other than the Co-ops for the duration of the dispute,” Wagner said.
“We are members and customers of our local co-ops and we know that many GSU members are in the same boat,” said GSU president Jim Brown. “Despite the potential inconvenience of buying fuel elsewhere, we think it is important to stand in solidarity with Unifor 594 members and send FCL a clear message that we are opposed to aggressive anti-worker policies and tactics.”