Unifor Local 594’s bold fight to defend the defined benefit pension plan against a massively profitable refinery has drawn reinforcements from across the country.
Members from three provinces have already travelled to Regina to join the picket lines, and dozens more are expected this weekend.
“Unifor members are ready to fight,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When a greedy employer like FCL attacks our members, it can expect a fight with our entire union membership.”
Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) owns the Co-op Refinery, where nearly 800 Unifor members have been locked out since December 5, 2019 in freezing conditions. At issue is the employer’s demands for concessions for most that amount to a 50 per cent cut in the value of their pensions.
“Co-op Refinery makes $3 million in profit every single day when our members are at work,” said Kevin Bittman, Unifor Local 594 President. “Clearly the attack on our pension is an attempt to break the union.”
Leanne Marsh, a skilled trades worker at Unifor Local 2200 and Chairperson of Unifor’s B.C. Regional Council arrived January 8 to show support.
“I jumped at the chance to come out here to show B.C.’s support for this fight,” said Marsh. “While I’m here, there are secondary pickets happening at B.C. co-ops nearly every day. We’re supporting Unifor Local 594 in every way we can.”
Mohamad Alli, a retiree from Local 468 in Winnipeg, shares those sentiments: “I knew I had to come to show my support. Pensions are absolutely critical to retirement security for workers, and what FCL is trying to do to their loyal workforce is disgusting and wrong.”
If you want more information about joining Local 594 picket lines, please contact your local union president.