Unifor 594 holds rally at Saskatchewan Legislature as bargaining talks with Co-op resume Friday

Unifor local 594 held another rally Thursday afternoon, but this time, it was in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature.

The union is returning to the bargaining table with Co-op Friday morning in hopes of ending a lock-out that has now reached 56 days.

Lead negotiator Scott Doherty said the rally in front of the Legislature was to send a clear message to Premier Scott Moe.

“(We want the Premier to) watch what’s happening at the bargaining table (Friday) and continue to pay attention to what’s happening, and if we can’t get a deal, to show some leadership and impose binding arbitration on us to end this lock-out,” Doherty said. “We’re hopeful, and I’m optimistic that we’re going to get a deal done over the next couple of days, Co-op has come to the table and we’re going to take that as a good sign.”

Doherty said if a deal is not struck, the union will be asking for binding arbitration from the Premier.

“He has the power to end this if we can’t get a deal done, so we haven’t formally asked him yet, we will if need be,” Doherty said. “It was about making sure the message was out there; they need to know that they’ve sat silent for 56 days while this has been one of the most bitter disputes in Saskatchewan history.”

Regina-Rosemont NDP MLA Trent Wotherspoon was at the rally, and said the province needs to step in and work with both sides to resolve the dispute.

“Certainly there’s concerns with respect to public safety, there’s hurt for our economy,” Wotherspoon said. “We’ve called on the Premier to act with a special mediator to bring the sides together and get a deal done at the table.”

While the union will be removing the blockades at the Co-op Refinery Complex, the union says they will still have members walking the picket lines while bargaining talks are underway.

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