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Court finds Unifor Local 594 guilty of breaching injunction, no jail time issued

Unifor Local 594 is found guilty of breaching a court injunction imposed against them on Dec. 24, 2019 – no jail time was given to any Unifor members.
Unifor Local 594 is found guilty of breaching a court injunction imposed against them on Dec. 24, 2019 – no jail time was given to any Unifor members. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

Unifor Local 594 president Kevin Bittman is not going to jail, but the union was found guilty on numerous accounts of breaching a court injunction and fined $250,000.

Judge Neil Robertson released his decision on Wednesday.

The court injunction was issued against Unifor on Dec. 24, 2019, limiting picketers to delay traffic in and out of Regina’s Co-op refinery for no more than 10 minutes. The fine stems from a number of repeated breaches of the injunction between Dec. 28, 2019, and Jan. 27, 2020.

READ MORE: Co-op Refinery asks for precedent-setting fine, jail time for local Unifor members

Co-op Refinery Complex argued in favour of a $1 million fine plus an additional $100,000 for every day they prevent people from getting in and out of Co-op facilities at Saskatchewan’s Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina on Feb. 6.

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Co-op also asked the court to impose a 90-day jail sentence on Bittman and a 30-day jail sentence on Unifor Local 594’s vice-president Lance Holowachuk.

Holowachuk was found guilty for breaching court order and will serve 40 hours of community service – to be completed by June 1, 2020.

Robertson’s decision gave Unifor two options on how to pay the fine.

READ MORE: Court order aims to ease rising tensions between Unifor, Regina’s Co-op Refinery

Unifor can either pay to the Registrar of the Judicial Center of Regina for the Court of Queen’s Bench or half to the Registrar and half to Regina’s Street Culture Project Inc.

They must provide proof of payment by 12 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2020.

READ MORE: Timeline: 2 months of the Co-op Refinery lockout

Unifor argued it was their national branch causing the delays and that the injunction only applied to Local 594.

The court made changes to the injunction on Wednesday saying “any other person having notice of this order,” would be responsible for following the order.

Changes were also made to allow Co-op the authority to remove any barricades blocking access to its property and to allow police to take any lawful measure they deem necessary to enforce the injunction.

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A division of Unifor represents some Global news employees.