In response to the nationwide call for solidarity by Unifor leadership, Canada’s labour movement is responding to the call, and the leadership and members of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU) are adding their voices to the message of solidarity.
Following arrests on the picket lines in Regina, including the high-profile arrest of Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, the escalating friction between workers on strike since December 5th and their wealthy employer, Co-op Refinery, cannot be ignored. Co-Op Refinery has used helicopters to fly scab workers into their facilities, ignoring calls for concern over unsafe working conditions; has locked out the striking workers, and is now escalating the dispute by using force rather than returning to the bargaining table.
“We are shocked that the employer is using such disgraceful tactics and our members stand alongside the members of Unifor 594 on the picket lines, in full solidarity” said Eddy Bourque, National President of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU).
Co-Ops have long been a foundation of the Canadian Prairies; they carry the goal of balancing the needs of people, planet and profit. The actions of this wealthy employer are going against these core values; not only is the refinery in Regina being operated by unqualified replacement workers, placing public safety at risk, but the locked out workers of Unifor Local 594 are being asked to put off their retirement, in some cases up to 20 years. CEIU members in Regina have been supporting the striking and locked out workers of Unifor 594 on the picket lines and have been calling for a full boycott of Co-Op Refinery products.
“The Unifor members on strike are the friends and family of my members in the Prairies. We’ve been out since the start of this on the line with Unifor.” said Chris Gardiner, CEIU’s National Vice-President, Manitoba & Saskatchewan.
It is shameful and unacceptable that our members are being asked to give up their pensions so that a massively profitable company can continue to bankroll billions of dollars in profit; since the last contract, they’ve made more than $2.5 billion. Every day that Unifor members have been on strike, Co-op continues to roll in $3 million a day, as members are out in the cold – literally – facing rollbacks and threats to their pensions which represent the ability to retire with dignity.
We stand with Canada’s unions in asking for a boycott of Co-Op Refinery products and in calling the employer’s tactics shameful and unacceptable.