Unifor reviewing CRC’s ‘best and final offer’ as employer moves to force vote

Members of Unifor 594 walk the picket line at the Co-op Refinery in Regina in January.
Members of Unifor 594 walk the picket line at the Co-op Refinery in Regina in January. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

As the Co-op Refinery Complex moves to force its locked-out workers to vote on its “best and final offer,” the union representing the employees says it is reviewing the document.

“We are currently reviewing the offer and will provide a detailed synopsis for the membership soon,” Unifor Local 594 said in a Facebook post Monday afternoon, noting the company relayed its intention to order the membership to vote under a provision of the Saskatchewan Employment Act.

The two parties have been embroiled in a bitter labour dispute for nearly four months.

In February, the province appointed a special mediator to assist in the negotiations. While Unifor leaders said they were prepared to accept the subsequent recommendations, Co-op rejected them and sent an offer of its own on March 25.

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READ MORE: Unifor Local 594 rejects Co-op’s latest offer, calling it ‘disgusting’

The offer “built on the recommendations in the Special Mediators’ report,” said a news release posted on the company’s social media profiles.

“The modifications we made to the recommendations were necessary to ensure the sustainability and, ultimately, the survival of CRC.”

Unifor rejected the March 25 offer. Co-op sent another offer to Unifor on Monday and are waiting a response.

Co-op’s latest offer accepts the special mediators recommendations for life insurance and steam tickets.

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Co-op, which shared on social media that it has made four offers to the union’s bargaining committee,  said in Monday’s news release that it was disappointed the union’s bargaining committee declined to take the final offer to the membership for a vote.

The company said that’s why it applied to the Labour Relations Board to order one under the Saskatchewan Employment Act.

“The offer we have put in front of Unifor 594 is the deal that provides certainty to employees and should end this dispute,” the news release said.

The provincial employment act provides a framework delineating when and how a last offer may be voted on by the membership.

“After bargaining has began, at any time, the employer, union, or a group of employees may apply to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to conduct a vote on the employer’s last offer,” states the government’s website.

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“If the vote does not succeed, the parties may continue to bargain and if unsuccessful, an impasse may be declared.”

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