Solidarity with locked out Co-op Refinery workers and arrested leaders

The Co-op Refinery in Regina locked out its employees in an odious attempt to force the union to accept major concessions. Then they flew in scab “replacement workers,” to keep the refinery operating. UNIFOR is fighting for the rights of the locked-out workers by preventing fuel trucks from crossing the picket lines. They have our support. Arresting union leaders for fighting for their members’ rights is ugly and unacceptable in a democracy where workers have rights. ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Ottawa (21 Jan. 2020) ― The Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) has crossed the line by seeking to intimidate workers and have union leaders arrested rather than bargain a reasonable collective agreement.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) stands in solidarity with Jerry Dias, President of UNIFOR, who was arrested, along with other members of UNIFOR, for peacefully participating in a picket against a company that is seeking to strip workers of their pension benefits. UNIFOR members at Regina’s Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) have been locked out since Dec. 5, 2019, when they were in the midst of bargaining. Negotiators were working to reverse FCL's attempt to strip away the workers’ defined benefit pension plan when the company chose to lock out its workers.

Respect workers' rights and hard-won benefits

When workers are locked out, or on strike, picketing is a legitimate and necessary measure to try and get the company back to the bargaining table. It is also a means to ensure that the strike is not broken by the use of scab labour. Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) has greatly increased the tension in this strike by locking out workers, and instead of returning to the bargaining table, FCL is choosing to use scab labour, get injunctions, and rely on police to arrest and intimidate workers. Locking out and arresting workers rather than resolving issues through collective bargaining is a violation of workers’ labour rights and must be denounced.

NUPGE in solidarity

NUPGE stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of UNIFOR, and we offer to assist UNIFOR in this struggle. These types of tactics by employers harm all workers and must not be allowed to go unchallenged.

NUPGE members understand what is at stake.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE