Unifor 594 who represents workers of the Co-op Refinery in Regina, are not taking the construction of an on-site work camp very lightly.
Union President Kevin Bittman said in a news released issued Tuesday night, that they see the construction of a work camp is in bad faith because negotiations for a new contract are still on-going. “When you bring in the trailers it kind of indicates that the company is probably done bargaining. That’s the first step of starting to bring in replacement workers to run the place without the skilled labour of 594.”
Late in September Unifor 594 declared an impasse.
Co-op said being prepared and having trailers on site protects three very important things: safety of employees, the Western Canadian fuel supply and the equipment and economy of Regina.
Bittman said in a news release that if they really care about the safety of employees and the community, they would do whatever it takes to keep members working. “We’ve been pretty consistent with our messaging right from the start that three years ago we gave up major concessions on pension and we gave up the option to purchase annuities, which was two major things for us. Since that time we have made $2.5-billion and it just seems like it’s never enough for them.”
Bittman added the highly skilled, experienced and loyal team holds to the key to the refinery’s safety.
He said the union is open to talking and coming up with a deal. “We’ve always said the the best place for us and our dedications and skill is inside the plant. That’s what we do for a living and it’s always better when we are working inside the plant rather than outside the plant. We are always looking to made a deal, but with the profits we are making, the deal has to be good for both sides and not just one side.”
Unifor 594 represents over 800 workers who work 24-7 365 days a year to keep the Co-op Refinery safe and profitable.
Both sides are expected to meet with the mediator on November 7th.