Unifor sets up blockade at Co-op bulk storage facility near Moose Jaw

Twenty Unifor picketers made their way to Moose Jaw on Monday, setting up a blockade at a Co-op bulk fuel depot just outside the city.

“It’s cold. We would rather be in working, but if this is what it’s going to take to get us back to the table and put a little pressure on the Co-op then we will be out here for as long as it takes,” said Karl Dahl, Unifor member.

“We’re blocking fuel trucks. We’re not blocking any local traffic or anything like that.”

And it’s not the first time Unifor has disrupted transportation of fuel during their ongoing dispute with Co-op.

Union members have held up truck drivers at several depots across the country including in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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READ MORE: Regina police re-open Ninth Avenue to allow picketers to access Co-op Refinery Complex

On Friday, the Regina Police Service blocked access to Ninth Avenue North between Winnipeg Street and McDonald Street as some Unifor blockades were removed from the refinery.

In Calgary, a judge granted Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) a court injunction on Feb. 6 to stop a blockade set up by Unifor at a fuel-distribution terminal near Carseland, Alta.

Unifor complied and removed the large fence around the terminal over the weekend.

“The judge was really clear and the RCMP were really good to work with. The injunction stated we had to take everything down and we complied with the RCMP,” Dahl said.

Due to the many blockades, fuel shortages are being reported throughout the prairies.

READ MORE: Trucks moving through Alberta fuel blockade, fences come down as Unifor complies with injunction

“The Co-op says they are out of fuel at pumps, but they’ve been trying to fuel up all of their bulk stations. They’re driving a bunch of trucks out here to fill up the bulk stations instead of their gas stations,” Dahl said.

“We thought we would come out here, then we’re not putting people out while we are still stopping the flow and putting pressure on the Co-op.”

Unifor picketers have gathered around a Co-op bulk storage facility near Moose Jaw, Sask.Unifor picketers have gathered around a Co-op bulk storage facility near Moose Jaw, Sask. Roberta Bell / Global News

The province is still offering the two sides a special mediator if Unifor takes down all of its barricades. It’s something Co-op spokesperson Brad DeLorey said the company would welcome.

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“They continue to put a lot of effort in to building barricades but show no interest in returning to the bargaining table to get a deal for their local. We are prepared to return to the table with a special mediator as long as all barricades are taken down,” DeLorey issued to Global News on Monday.

1:46Co-op Refinery asks for precedent-setting fine against Unifor

Co-op Refinery asks for precedent-setting fine against Unifor

Co-op and Unifor were in Regina court last week over a court injunction issued in December, regarding Unifor’s blockades and picketing methods.

Co-op asked the judge to impose a fine of $1 million on Unifor Local 594 plus jail time for its high-ranking leaders.

The judge reserved his decision. His decision will be provided at a later date.

Employees have been locked out of the refinery since Dec. 5.

A division of Unifor represents some Global news employees.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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