Unifor accepts mediator recommendations, FCL assessing potential impact

by Today's Trucking

REGINA, Sask. – A mediator’s report with recommendations to end the ongoing lockout at the Co-op Regina Refinery has not been met with much fanfare, but one side is accepting the terms in an attempt to end the dispute.

Unifor, the union representing workers at the facility, said it accepts the recommendations from the independent mediator, but that was the extent of its approval.

“To be clear, our committee is not thrilled with the final report and the significant changes that are recommended,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. “We have been trying to find a solution since we were locked out on Dec. 5, 2019. It is time to end this dispute and have our members running the refinery in these unprecedented times.”

Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL), on the other hand, have not yet accepted the terms of the mediator’s report.

In a press release to Today’s Trucking, the company simply said it was still analyzing the special mediator’s report as it relates to the long-term impacts and benefits to its business.

“This is obviously an important decision and it requires some additional time to thoroughly review and evaluate the report,” the statement said.

Following a labor dispute at the Regina Refinery, around 800 union workers have been locked out of the complex after Unifor representatives issued a strike notice in early December.

The issue went to court after Co-op claimed picketing workers were engaging in dangerous behavior, including blocking truck traffic and setting up barricades to prevent drivers from accessing the facility, which led to the company filing an injunction against Unifor.

In its acceptance of mediator Vince Ready’s recommendations, which was released March 19, Unifor Local 594 president Kevin Bittman said the current Covid-19 crisis does factor into its decision.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and life for everyone grows more uncertain with each passing day,” said Bittman. “We all need some sense of stability back in our lives and this deal provides exactly that. This deal should end this dispute, as it gives the company what they said they needed. We are urging the company to accept the special mediator’s recommendations as we have. Anything less would be irresponsible.”
Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

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