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

REGINA — A lawyer for a Saskatchewan oil 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 in Regina and intimidating contractors, suppliers and employees.

“The union does not have a right, no matter what it says in arguments, to block the employer’s access to its own premises,” she argued in court Monday.

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

Last week, Justice Janet McMurtry put some restrictions on the union’s picketing until a full injunction hearing could be held.

Union lawyer Crystal Norbeck argued Monday that no restrictions on picketing are needed.

Libby summarized that the employer wants the union to stop engaging in what she said is illegal conduct on the picket lines.

She argued 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 replacement workers and vehicle passengers.

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

“Think about that for a moment: What a significant act that is,” she said.

“It’s expensive. It’s strange, but it was necessary.”

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Ambulance dispatch should be kept local,’ says Red Deer mayor

Four Alberta mayors meet with Minister of Health on Thursday

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

Empty Red Deer hotels could be purchased to create more affordable housing

City and its housing partners will be applying for a new federal program to reduce homelessness

As Agri-Trade neared exhibitors had second thoughts

Agricultural show cancelled rather than fall short of expectations

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

How can I tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

How can I tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

From quick shortcuts to slow cookers, how we’re eating now

From quick shortcuts to slow cookers, how we’re eating now

Democrats to redraft virus relief in bid to jump-start talks

Democrats to redraft virus relief in bid to jump-start talks

Small hamlet named Swastika keeps name, despite complaint

Small hamlet named Swastika keeps name, despite complaint

Despite Trump attacks, both parties vow orderly election

Despite Trump attacks, both parties vow orderly election

‘No easy answer’: Many ask what next in Breonna Taylor case

‘No easy answer’: Many ask what next in Breonna Taylor case

Home prices could fall 7 per cent in 2021, hitting Prairies hard: Moody’s forecast

Home prices could fall 7 per cent in 2021, hitting Prairies hard: Moody’s forecast

Ulta Beauty halts expansion into Canada to focus on U.S. operations, online shopping

Ulta Beauty halts expansion into Canada to focus on U.S. operations, online shopping

Most Read