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Unifor 594 initiated a labour dispute at the Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina. We respect our employees. We respect the facts.
During our current labour negotiations, employees have been offered the choice of our Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Plan or to contribute to their current Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plan. The following are examples of the DC option.
Employee 1 is 36 and has been working at the refinery for seven years. Their average best earnings over 36 months is $95,000. They’re eligible for their full pension at age 59.
Commuted Value1 $426,000
Retirement Allowance2 $103,320
Defined Contribution3 $712,000
TOTAL $1,241,320
Employee 2 is 40 and has been working at the refinery for 13 years. Their average best earnings over 36 months is $105,000. They’re eligible for their full pension at age 57.
Commuted Value1 $658,000
Retirement Allowance2 $262,080
Defined Contribution3 $460,000
TOTAL $1,380,080
Employee 3 is 53 and has been working at the refinery for 32 years. Their average best earnings over 36 months is $115,000. They’re eligible for their full pension at age 55.
Commuted Value1 $989,000
Retirement Allowance2 $742,400
Defined Contribution3 $34,300
TOTAL $1,765,700
1Commuted Value (CV): Value of defined benefit pension
2Retirement Allowance (RA): Compensation for transition to defined contribution pension.
3Defined Contribution (DC): Value of contributions from employee (4%) and employer (10%), including a 6% rate of return

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We’re offering a fair pension.

Unifor has been asking for pension security. We’re just asking employees to contribute to their future retirement. Even with proposed changes, most employees will receive a pension in excess of $1 million. What do you think? Does this offer a secure retirement?

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 that have one contribute to it.

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We’re offering a fair 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.


Our unionized employees don't contribute to their pensions.

  • All we’re asking is 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 current pension plan but would have to contribute a percentage, which is not yet agreed to in bargaining;
    • 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 to 14%;
  • Regardless of which pension choice they make, we will treat all our employees the same by contributing up to 10% to their pension plan.
  • Contributing to your retirement isn’t a reduction in pay; it’s an investment in the future.


We essentially give employees two full pensions.

  • In addition to a 100% employer-funded defined benefit pension, our current savings plan is essentially a defined contribution pension plan.
  • We match employee contributions of 6.5%. This just isn’t sustainable.


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 reliability and safety.
  • 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 productivity, safety 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.

Unifor is calling us greedy for sharing profits.

We've shared $2.6 billion with local co-ops in the last five years.

Local co-ops supported the investment of $3 billion to build Section V at the refinery and create 150 new union positions in 2013.

Unifor wants to shut down the Western Canadian fuel supply.

Unifor's Scott Doherty said, "Obviously, they are running right now and there are some trucks going in and out, but our hope is to cut (the fuel supply) down entirely and at some point that may happen."

We're dedicated to the safe operation of the refinery to continue fuelling the West.

Unifor has refused to bargain since Sept. 26.

We’re offering pension choice and are eager to negotiate on the details of a sustainable DB pension. Unifor has only issued an ultimatum – it will not discuss a deal unless the current 100 per cent employer-paid defined benefit pension plan remains untouched forever.

  • Unifor's Scott Doherty said, "I don't see why we would have conversations. Until the employer is prepared to take that concession off the table, then I don't know what there would be to talk about."

The first update to Lockout Lowdown was posted before attempted mediation started in October.

We respect our employees and we respect the facts.
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On Dec. 15, Unifor launched a “nationwide” boycott of Co-op. Our response is sharing the facts.

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