BMWED Supports Unifor Local 594 Members in Canada in their Fight for a Fair Contract

Published: Feb 10 2020 3:21PM

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is sending our support and commitment to the members of Unifor Local 594 as it faces a disgraceful lockout from Coop Refinery and its parent company, Federated Coop Limited.

We understand that you are ready to negotiate but are being strong armed by a greed-ridden, opportunistic company that cares more about profitability and shareholders than it does the hard-working, honest employees that create those profits.

Your fight is a fight not just for Unifor union members, or even just for Canadian workers, but it is a noble and just fight for all workers across the globe. Please know that the BMWED stands with you in this battle and will support you in any way we can.

We implore the lawmakers, judges and police in Saskatchewan and throughout Canada to end its heavy-handed tactics to break the union. Picketing sidewalks is a peaceful yet powerful demonstration and the purpose of government involvement in labor disputes should be to maintain balance in the process of bargaining, and to provide for peaceful resolution of disputes, not to break up union picketers.

FCL built scab camps inside the perimeter well ahead of bargaining and has been helicoptering scabs in. Recently, they cynically took advantage of a good-faith attempt by the union to get back to the negotiating table. When Unifor suspended their blockade and made a generous offer to resolve the dispute, FCL merely demanded further takeaways at the table while moving scabs and oil trucks in and out the facility. These are not the actions of a company interested in reaching a fair negotiated agreement with its workers.

This is what happens when employers feel like they have free reign to prolong labor disputes by employing scabs and using heavy-handed legal and police tactics against the union. We join Unifor in calling for the government to appoint a mediator with power to assign binding arbitration if parties fail to come to an agreement. We also urge provincial, state and federal governments in both of our countries to pass anti-scab legislation to prevent these kinds of disputes in the future and restore workers’ rights to engage in meaningful collective bargaining with their employers.

This struggle is not simply about refinery workers in Regina, it is about democracy and power for all workers. Solidarity forever!

Freddie N. Simpson, BMWED-IBT President
David D. Joynt, BMWED-IBT Secretary-Treasurer