Unifor national president Jerry Dias arrested as conflict at Co-Op refinery escalates

UPDATE – On Day 46 of the lockout at the Co-Op refinery, Regina police have taken the national president of the union representing almost 700 workers at the facility into custody.

Late Monday afternoon, police arrested Jerry Dias and several others.  The move came as police tried to have the union respect a court injunction issued last month.  That injunction said those pin the picket line could hold up traffic going into the refinery for 10 minutes to explain their stance and if the person looking to enter didn’t wish to hear the message, he was entitled to.

The union was in violation of that on Monday morning when they announced no one would be getting into the facility while those who were inside could leave knowing they would not be able to return.  Dias stated at the time that the injunction was not being violated because it was not members of Unifor 594, but national members performing the blockade.

The refinery issued a statement moments later indicating that what Unifor was doing was illegal while accusing the union of using bullying tactics against replacement workers.

Regina police also issued a release on Monday morning stating they were trying to achieve a balance that would allow the union to protest lawfully, but allow the company the right to do business.

Moments before his arrest, Dias said the union is looking for a settlement and that this dispute has gone for far too long. He said Co-Op refinery officials have the ability to fix this.

Reports say Dias was released from police custody early Tuesday morning, he and the others arrested have been charged with mischief.

With 200 more union members arriving in Regina Tuesday morning, the picket line in front of the refinery is expected to climb to about 700.

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