Unifor removes video featuring Regina business owner mistaken for ‘scab’

Co-op Refinery Complex has backed up Kalpesh Patel's claim of being mistakenly featured in Unifor's "Meet the Scabs" video.
Co-op Refinery Complex has backed up Kalpesh Patel's claim of being mistakenly featured in Unifor's "Meet the Scabs" video. Dave Parsons / Global News

Unifor has deleted a previous version of their “Meet the Scabs” video that mistakenly identified a Regina business owner for a replacement worker.

The video has since been updated with a similar version that doesn’t feature Kalpesh Patel, who is co-owner of Birmingham’s Vodka and Ale House.

READ MORE: CRC confirms Kalpesh Patel mistakenly featured in Unifor’s ‘Meet the Scabs’ video

Unifor, who posted the updated video on their official Twitter account Wednesday morning, did not offer a public apology. It’s unknown if Unifor has reached out to Patel.

“We are still trying to locate a photo of another individual with the same name who is working at the refinery, for our next video, in an attempt to discourage scabs,” said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to the Unifor national president.

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Doherty added that no one crossing the picket line has an expectation of privacy, citing a Supreme Court of Canada decision ruling unions have the right to photograph replacement workers.

“In 2013, in a unanimous ruling the court said not only can unions circulate and broadcast photographs of scabs but the judges explicitly recognized that public shaming of picket-line crossers is a legitimate union practice,” said Doherty in the statement.

Unifor said it’s their belief that “scabs only serve to help greedy employers prolong labour disputes.”

“Unifor makes a point of naming and shaming scabs to discourage anyone from crossing our picket line and taking food off another family’s table,” Doherty said.

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There is anti-scab legislation currently in place in Quebec and British Columbia. Unifor has been a long-time advocate of expanding similar legislation in Saskatchewan and other provinces and territories in Canada.

Unifor had previously denied using the wrong Patel, but said if they made a mistake they would take appropriate action.

READ MORE: Refinery strike travels to Weyburn as more blockades restrict access to Co-op gas

On Tuesday, the Co-op Refinery Complex spokesperson Brad DeLorey confirmed to Global News that Patel was mistakenly identified.

“There is a separate temporary worker with the name Patel on the site, however, they declined to give his legal name, or specify if there were other similarities between the legal names of the two gentlemen,” DeLorey told Global News.

Patel said he’s never been to Regina’s Co-op Refinery and has never heard of Unifor.

“I have nothing to do with them so I want to clear my name. I don’t want to damage my business, name or reputation,” Patel said on Monday.

Patel woke up to numerous phone calls Friday morning. He said people called him a scab and asked him why he would take refinery worker’s jobs.

He said he was in shock.

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READ MORE: Unifor blockades Co-op properties to lockout ‘managers and scabs’

“Everybody was calling me, what are you doing? I didn’t know anything about the video and found it from other people,” Patel said.

“They took it from my Facebook profile … I’m surprised. I don’t know why they took my picture and used it.”

The original “Meet the Scabs” video posted to Twitter had received over 133,000 views.

Unifor Local 594 – who represents the locked out employees – says they had no part in the making of the video.

Global News has reached out to Patel for comment.

—With files from Jon Guignard and Elise Darwish