Volume 19 | Issue 11 | November 2019
First, thanks to everyone who was able to join solidarity rallies and share messages of support on social media for the locked-out Crown workers. Our Unifor brothers & sisters were extremely grateful. We know we can count on them if/when it's our turn.
You may have noticed the "Lockout Lowdown" series on our website is on overdrive! Credit goes to the thinkers and writers among us who have put time into creating such kickass content. Thanks to everyone who reads and shares the articles. If every 594 member shares a Facebook post or tweet, it can reach tens of thousands of potential supporters.
Our radio ads have been in regular rotation on popular stations. Listen for a new one starting November 9. And we will have new billboards going up after Remembrance Day around Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw.
The most important thing you can do? Keep talking about our fight for a #FairDeal with everyone you know and send potential supporters to Unifor594.com to take action.
If you are available over noon hour on Friday, November 8, drop by the University of Regina to hear Dr. Andrew Stevens talk about his paper: " Confronting the Coop: Unifor Local 594 and the Corporatization of Cooperative Principles". Presentation at 12pm, November 8, Room 560, Education Building, U of R campus; refreshments provided. Andrew is Unifor Research Chair & Associate Professor in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Regina. As an expert in labour relations, Andrew will discuss our bargaining challenges and “community unionism”.
Also, Dr. Sean Tucker recently tweeted to watch for a town hall discussion about community safety in the event of Refinery workers being locked out. We will update you as details become known.
Meanwhile, if you feel like getting hairy for a good cause, our "Refinery Stache for Cash" team is back in action for #Movember. We are hair-bent on surpassing the $30K we raised last year. Contact Daryl Nylen ( darylnylen@gmail.com ) to join our team or donate to them at http://Movember.com
In the beginning of October, I was fortunate to attend a Women’s Activist Course in Regina sponsored by Unifor 594. When I was first asked if I would like to attend, I had to give it a lot thought. I didn’t consider myself a feminist, and I didn’t consider myself to be a flag waving cheerleader for women in the world. But I reluctantly went, not knowing what to expect.

In the three days of the course, my eyes were opened and my expectations were exceeded. The two facilitators helped us cover topics such as pay equality, (worldwide women are paid less than men, in most countries earning on average 60 - 75% of men’s wages), women’s rights, pressures of being a working woman, violence against women (Spousal violence has been consistently identified as one of the most common forms of violence against women in Canada), and women in union positions. We shared and brainstormed ideas on how we keep up the fight for equality, and how to pass on and convey the need for Feminism. You see, Feminism isn’t just rallying women together and shouting from the rooftops. Feminism, to me, is sharing with everyone and anyone who will listen, the fact that women still aren’t treated as equals in the workplace and in society. Feminism is not being afraid to speak out for my rights as a women and willing to speak up for my fellow sisters. I’ve learned that more “speaking out” has to be done at work and in our daily lives. When someone says something inappropriate to me, or to another female, then that person needs to be corrected. I’ve learned that if I’m not comfortable with a task that’s given to me, or how and when I’m expected to do it, I need to address it then and there. That’s a hard thing to do, when working in a male dominated industry. But the more we do it, the more it becomes the norm – which it should be!

The group was comprised of 8 women from the Co-op Refinery and one woman from another company. There were other women that were supposed to be attending from other companies, but they were Crown employees who were out on a picket line. During the second day of the course, the 9 attendees and the 2 facilitators went to picket with the Crown employees and give our support. We were able to talk to those employees and share what we were learning on our course and they were VERY appreciative of us being there and quite interested in the knowledge we were gaining from the course.

To the fellow attendees of this course, I’m sure happy I had the opportunity to attend with you. And to everyone reading this…when you are approached by the union about attending a course and you’re unsure, just go for it. I can assure you you’ll leave with a whole new appreciation of your co-workers.
In Solidarity,
Jill Straker
Inspection Clerk II, Inspection Department
I hope Scott Banda and the rest of his “Leadership Team” read my story. I hope they take the time to realize, and consider, every employee working at this Refinery have their own story. All refinery employees have planned their financial future based on the promised and advertised DB Pension Plan when being hired.

“A Defined Benefit Pension plan is a type a pension plan in which an employer promises a specific pension payment”. Wikipedia.

I started full-time as a probationary labourer in the Yard in 1989. I worked there for three and a half years before I had an opportunity to bid into the bottom position in the PDD Warehouse in 1993 as a Plantperson. A year after that, in 1994 I was awarded the Warehouseperson position that offered sectional seniority. Gaining sectional seniority was a defining moment for me, it afforded me security and it meant that I could now map out the rest of my career at the refinery.

I knew by staying in the PDD Warehouse until retirement, I would finish my career at top-rate for my department, and this would benefit my pension. With that in mind, in 1994 I had settled in on my career plan and began looking forward to my future pension in retirement.

I recall the first time my financial advisor asked about the details of my pension, stating it would determine how aggressive additional financial planning would have to be, in order to end up with a comfortable retirement.

The amounts that I have contributed over the years to RRSPs and TFSAs to supplement my pension were based on the advice of my financial planner and the plan that we together felt would work best for my situation. The contribution amounts were determined by considering what my pension payout would amount to at the age I had decided to retire.

Perhaps I could have contributed more to my portfolio over the last 30 years, however I still had all the expenses every family has, mortgages, vehicle payments, children's sports, family vacation, etc. This is the very reason we are encouraged to do financial planning in the first place, to achieve a balance between working towards retirement and trying to provide your family with the best quality of life you can achieve.

If we let the Company take away our DB pension, I like many others do not have the years left that would be required to recoup the losses imposed upon me by the Company. I do not have the option to go back in time 30 years to reconfigure my portfolio.

The promise of a pension determined my financial decisions and my approach on how to invest my finances for the last 30 years that I have been employed. It is unacceptable for the Company to dismiss a lifetime of planning from their employees. We need to send them a clear message that we will not accept concessions, it is not fair or reasonable, especially while they make record profits.

The DC plan being offered by the Company may be a decent DC plan, but it is still far inferior to our current DB plan. There is a reason lawsuits were considered by Managers when the Company forced the switch on them. The Company isn't pushing this hard to move everyone to a DC plan to benefit the employees, they are only interested in the money it will save them by not rewarding you with the pension you were promised and earned.

Our pension benefits are in our contract (mutually bargained by both the Union and the Company). The simple fact is the Company wants to break the contract at our expense.

In Solidarity, Scott Hill

It has been decided that we would postpone our annual celebration in the hopes of holding a party later in the new year to celebrate the ratification of a fair deal.

Thank you,
David Mushynsky, Social Committee Chair

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