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FCL willing to resume bargaining when Unifor follows the law

By Daniel Jungwirth

January 29, 2020

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) CEO Scott Banda, Vice-President of Human Resources Heather Ryan and Vice-President of Strategy Pam Skotnitsky  met with Unifor National President Jerry Dias and other Unifor representatives Monday Jan. 27, 2020, to discuss the labour disruption at the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC).

The meeting, held at Unifor’s request, was an opportunity to have an open discussion and listen to Unifor’s perspective to see if there were grounds to resume bargaining. To be clear, this was not a formal bargaining session.

FCL received a counter-proposal from Unifor this morning, the first it has issued since they declared an impasse on Sept. 26, 2019. We’ll review the proposal, however, Unifor continues to block all vehicles from entering or exiting our property despite a court injunction order.

“We stated clearly our willingness to engage in meaningful conversations at the bargaining table, but  reiterated our position that the rule of law must be followed. This is defined by two Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench orders and a subsequent ruling by Justice Keene that Unifor is in contempt of those orders,” said Heather Ryan, Vice-President  of Human Resources.

“Unifor has ignored an interim court injunction order, a final court injunction order and a contempt of court ruling. We agree with Justice Keene’s ruling, which found Unifor ‘intentionally and deliberately disobeyed the order.’”

Justice Keene acknowledged the intent of the original orders were “intended to bring some level of stability to a tense labour dispute.” However, Unifor has continued to escalate their illegal tactics, which certainly doesn’t provide the environment for productive bargaining.

Unifor reinforced their barricades Tuesday evening with hundreds of wood pallets. The illegal barricades have been increasing in size since they were first put in place on Jan. 20. Not only that, but they erected a barricade around our fuel terminal in Carseland, Alta., on Jan. 25.

“To be clear, this is not peaceful, lawful picketing. This is Unifor using aggressive and illegal blockades and ignoring court injunction orders,” said Ryan. “If they were to follow the law and these rulings, we’d be back at the bargaining table within hours.”

More information on the labour disruption is available at refineryfacts.ca