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FCL, Unifor blockade battle back in court

February 6, 2020  

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Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) has stated it will not negotiate the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) collective bargaining agreement with Unifor again while the union maintains illegal blockades at CRC and other FCL facilities.

Unifor has continued to blockade the CRC in Regina, Sask., and for the past two weeks, at FCL’s Carseland Fuel Terminal near Calgary, Alta.

“By brazenly breaking the law in the face of law enforcement agencies and governments with these illegal barricades, Unifor is challenging the right of our business — and ultimately any business — to operate,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda at an event in Carseland. “They’re using illegal barricades in their attempt to shut down our business and to hurt other businesses here in Alberta. We’re not going to let them set this dangerous precedent and we’re not going to bargain while they’re holding co-ops, their members, and their communities in Alberta hostage.”

FCL’s Carseland Fuel Terminal was closed off by Unifor’s fence barricade on Jan. 25. Unifor has since erected even more fencing and continues to use out-of-province activists at their barricade. Today FCL is seeking an Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench court injunction order that will address Unifor’s blockade of the FCL Carseland Fuel Terminal.

“This is absolutely unacceptable. Our Co-op’s members and customers rely on fuel from the Co-op Refinery Complex and the Carseland Terminal,” said Paul Haynes, CEO of South Country Co-op, based in Medicine Hat. “Our members and customers are regular people with regular jobs and businesses of the fuel they need. We continue to hear support from them, but no one can understand this union’s complete disregard for the law.”

Today, Unifor will face a second contempt of court hearing related to a second Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench order further defining the rules for both sides. As well, last month a number of Unifor’s members were arrested for actions at their barricade.

“We’re here to serve the needs of our members and our communities,” said Gerald Hiebert, CEO of Central Alberta Co-op in Red Deer. “We want FCL to negotiate a deal that’s fair for both sides, without threats and illegal actions. We expect FCL to manage our investments appropriately, which means being financially prudent and considering future challenges.”