Volume 21 | Issue 11 | November 2021
Local 594 is part of the Unifor Saskatchewan Area Council (SAC), which is open for participation by all Unifor locals in the province. SAC is a valuable opportunity for Saskatchewan locals to collaborate and network. It is a platform where we come up with, and implement ideas on how we can work together and utilize our combined numbers in a way that helps all Saskatchewan workers make gains and move forward.

The Saskatchewan Area Council AGM took place in Saskatoon on November 15th and 16th 2021. The meeting was attended by 28 delegates from Unifor locals, two Unifor National staff reps, and three SAC executive officers for a total of 33 attendees. Our local was represented by myself, Karl Dahle, Wade Schnell and Kurt Haakensen. Daryl Watch and Kevin Geiger were in attendance as the trustee/treasurer for SAC.

It was a very productive couple of days starting with unit reports from every local in attendance. Delegates were from a diverse array of industries; hospitality, telecommunications, oil & gas, mining, and more. We heard from each of those unit reports how we are all struggling in our own ways whether that be fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the terrible impact it has had on the hospitality industry, to vaccination mandates and the various grievances and issues that have arisen from that. We heard about downturn in industry and the general struggles of running a union through this pandemic. We talked about the need to collaborate and work together, while at the same time we are all being pinned down by this virus. We don’t have the same opportunities to get together and have Christmas parties, or Labour Day Picnics. It was clear that while we don’t all work in the same industries, we all share the same root causes of the issues we are facing.

We heard from two great guest speakers. We received a sobering and eye opening presentation on Truth and Reconciliation from Robert Doucette on Tuesday morning which generated a lot of great discussion within the group. On Wednesday, we heard from guest speaker Dave McGrane who most recently ran with the NDP in the federal election. Dave engaged the group in a discussion about what we all want from this province and the political parties that govern us. It was a lively, engaging talk, and it did a great job of rounding things back to us. Change and progress, it all happens at our level. He underscored how it takes collaboration, through things like the SAC, to make change happen. Strength through numbers and common goals.

This was the first in person SAC in a couple of years now and it was great to get back in a room and start working with everyone again. It was a productive meeting where we were able to set objectives for the next months and years and I look forward to see what we can all accomplish together.

Nathan Kraemer, President
When there is a dispute about a workplace policy, disagreement over discipline or generally any violation of the collective agreement the members, and the Union, turn to the grievance process for resolution. 

The grievance process can be long; from filing the papers to receiving an arbitration decision at the end. With the laws stacked against labour, our only choice is to follow the "work now, grieve later" concept. 

While we have seen some recent success, we still have 144 outstanding grievances on many important issues to our local. Policing the contract shouldn't be this hard. It was collectively bargained and agreed to by both the Company and Union, but it's almost never the latter that breaks the agreed-upon rules. 

There is only one surefire way to succeed in the low-carbon economy and that's to stop fighting internally and start taking aim at our competitors. The hard-working, dedicated members of 594 are not the competition. There are generations of families that have been employed at the Refinery almost since the beginning that have poured their lives into shaping the Co-op into the behemoth it is today. That loyalty, and the CBA, needs to be respected. 

The goal is to use this space to provide updates to the membership about recently filed or resolved grievances. More comprehensive updates are provided at monthly Executive and General meetings. 

19-2017 OT Opportunities 
We recently reached a resolution to this grievance and it has been withdrawn. The parties agree that restriction on overtime is only appropriate when supported by suitable medical documentation. Restricting employees from working overtime will not be used as a disciplinary measure for non-culpable absenteeism. The Company has communicated policy updates and the Union has no concern that this should be an issue going forward. 

14/21-2016 Bidding to Process
We also resolved our dispute over how and who can bid on internal process job postings. The grievance was filed because the Company was requiring a 4th Power Engineering certificate in order to be awarded a process job successfully. Under the resolution, the most senior applicant will be awarded the position but will be required to obtain the minimum qualifications within the timelines set out in Article 9 and Letter of Understanding 2 of the collective agreement. 

30/31/32-2020 Lockout Terminations 
As previously reported our three grievors have been reinstated by the arbitrator. Suspensions were substituted as appropriate discipline for their picket line misconduct. At the end of the day, the grievors were pleased with the decision and are looking to move forward and put the ordeal behind them. The grievance committee is now working with the Company to finalize any outstanding details pertaining to the return to work process. 

29-2021 Boilerhouse Janitorial Duties
Lastly, the Company contracted out Janitorial duties that were customarily performed by our members. After the Step 1 grievance meeting, the parties came to an agreement and the Janitorial duties will return to our members. The grievance has been withdrawn. 

We appreciate all the members, stewards and executive that have volunteered their time to pursue these grievances and serve the membership to best of our abilities. 
to the following 594 members:
Brenda Curtis- Stores (December 1, 2021)
Julie Swain- Utility #1 (December 1, 2021)
  • Congratulations Dean Funke (Section 1A) and Lacy who welcomed son Deacon Harold born September 20, 2021.
  • Congratulations Sarah Silzer (Financial Accounting) and Kent welcomed son Nash David on November 1, 2021.
  • Congratulations Sean Biffin (Pipeshop) and Chelsea who welcomed son Holden Robert on November 6, 2021.
Please let us know of any noteworthy milestones at [email protected] or message her directly.
Employee & Family Assistance Program
The looming layoff may be causing stress and anxiety which can be extremely harmful to one's mental health. It is so important to take care of yourself especially when working in a dangerous plant. The Employee & Family Assistance Program can help.

EFAP is through Homewood Health and is available 24/7/365. Call 1-800-663-1142 or reach out to a trusted confident, friend or co-worker if you aren't feeling like yourself.
594 SWAG
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