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What we have offered refinery employees

By Daniel Jungwirth

December 4, 2019

There are many questions being asked about the offer to unionized employees at the Co-op Refinery Complex. Learn more about what has been offered for wages and pension.

We’re offering an 11.75% raise over four years.

  • There are no wage rollbacks proposed.
  • In 2019, the average base wage of unionized employees was $104,000.
  • In 2019, the average total compensation (base wage, overtime, pension and other benefits) is $172,000.
  • The offer means an average increase of $12,000 over the life of the contract.

Unionized employees currently in the defined benefit plan don't contribute to their pensions.

  • We’re asking that they start contributing to their pension plan like almost all Canadians with a company-provided pension plan.
  • We’re not taking anyone’s pension away. We’re offering employees a choice of two options:
    • Defined benefit (DB): Our employees remain in their DB pension plan but must contribute a percentage and accept other plan design changes; or
    • Defined contribution (DC): The CRC contributes 6% automatically, even if our employees don’t contribute. The CRC will match contributions up to 4%, bringing the total up to 14%.
  • Regardless of which pension choice employees make, we’ll contribute up to 10% to the DB and DC plans on behalf of each employee.
  • Contributing to your retirement isn’t a reduction in pay; it’s an investment in your future.

We’re offering a fair pension

Unifor has been asking for pension security. We’re asking employees to contribute to their future retirement income and discuss other ways to reduce risk in the defined benefits plan for those that decide to remain. Even with the proposed changes, most employees will receive a pension in excess of $1 million.

According to Statistics Canada, the average market value of an employer pension for someone aged 55 to 59 is about $430,000. But only 34% of working Canadians have an employer-funded pension, and nearly nine out of 10 people who have one, contribute to it.

The current savings plan is like another pension.

  • Our current savings plan is essentially like having another defined contribution pension plan.
  • We match employee contributions of up to 6.5%.
  • This just isn’t sustainable. We’ve proposed to replace it with a performance bonus plan

We’re offering a performance bonus.

  • Our offer replaces the current matched savings plan with an annual bonus based on the refinery’s performance in areas such as safety and reliability.
  • As the refinery does better, so do the employees who are a part of that success.

Safety is our priority.

  • The CRC is an industry leader in safety in the refining sector.
  • We rank in the top quartile in process safety – based on reported process safety incidents from refineries in Canada (2018).
  • Over the past eight years, we’ve invested over $200 million a year into the safety and reliability of our Refinery.

We share our profits with local co-ops and co-op members across Western Canada.

  • FCL returns most of its profits to local co-ops, including $649 million in 2019 ($789 million in 2018).
  • These local co-ops invest in their own facilities and operations, give back to their individual members and support their local communities.
  • The rest of our profit ($310 million in 2019) is reinvested to support FCL’s growth – including investments to enhance the Refinery’s safety, productivity  and sustainable success.

Our industry is changing and so are we.

  • We’re preparing for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • We’re investing in clean fuels, including:
  • Purchasing of Terra Grain Fuels to secure ethanol supply sourced from Saskatchewan farmers,
    • Investing $165 million in new technology to meet and exceed Canada’s low sulphur in gasoline regulations one year early, and
    • Investing in the future.