Company seeks injunction: Co-op, union in court over pickets at Regina refinery

REGINA — A lawyer for a Regina refinery in a labour dispute says a court-ordered injunction is the only relief against what it calls serious misconduct by the union on the picket lines.

Eileen Libby says pickets with Unifor Local 594 have been blockading access to the Co-op refinery complex and intimidating contractors, suppliers and employees.

More than 700 refinery workers were locked out Dec. 5 after Unifor issued a strike notice in a dispute in which pensions are a key issue.

Last week, a judge put some restrictions on the union’s picketing until a full injunction hearing could be heard.

Libby argued in court today that union blockades have impeded the delivery of safety equipment and chemicals to the refinery, and have raised concerns about the ability of emergency vehicles to get through.

Court also heard that pickets have been blocking tanker trucks from exiting and entering the site for many hours.

Libby alleged union members have been hurling insults and harassing replacements workers and vehicle passengers.

As a result of the union blockades, Co-op brought in helicopters to transport staff and goods across picket lines, which was an expensive choice, she said.

Unifor is calling for a national boycott of the facility’s owner, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., made up of more than 190 independent retail co-operatives in Western Canada, operating food stores, gas bars, convenience stores and home centres.

The workers’ last contract expired in February. The union declared an impasse in contract negotiations in September, which led to the appointment of a mediator.

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