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FCL urges Unifor to stop the stunts and start bargaining

By Daniel Jungwirth

January 8, 2020

Today the union for the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) in Regina, picketed Federated Co-operatives Limited’s home office, but Unifor 594 has refused to negotiate in any way since Sept. 26, 2019.

“Let’s be clear—these picketers are not Saskatoon Co-op retail employees. They’re refinery workers who are among the best paid in the energy sector with an average total compensation package of $175,000 a year,” said Cameron Zimmer, FCL’s Communications and Public Relations Manager.

FCL has provided a fair offer to refinery employees, which includes a:

  • Raise of 11.75% over the life of the contract;
  • Choice between a defined benefit and defined contribution pension plan; and,
  • Performance bonus.

In spite of this offer, Unifor has issued an ultimatum to FCL by saying that it will not discuss a deal unless the current 100 per cent employer-paid defined benefit pension plan remains untouched, indefinitely. FCL has simply asked that Unifor 594 employees at the CRC contribute to their pension. 

“There’s a reason that only two per cent of working Canadians have a plan like the current one at the refinery. Those types of pension plans are just not sustainable,” said Zimmer. “We’re simply asking employees to start contributing to their own pension like most Canadians already do.”

Although Unifor has launched two national advertising campaigns calling for a boycott, people have continued supporting their local co-ops across Western Canada. Throughout the labour disruption, FCL has kept supplying these co-ops with fuel even though the union has attempted to cut off the fuel supply to Western Canada.

“We’re disappointed that Unifor has chosen this route rather than getting back to the bargaining table,” said Zimmer. “This strike won’t end through tactics like the ones we’re seeing today, it’ll be resolved through meaningful negotiations at the bargaining table.”