This is the most critical junction in the history of our Union. It has been a long road to get to where we are right now. It’s time to begin our fight. The Company has given us 48-hour notice to lock us out of the plant. A plant that we have been running and maintaining for 77 years. A plant that the workers have saved from freeze ups, large scale fires, vapour releases and violent explosions. We are being rewarded for our loyalty with a “choice”: to not work or to agree to major concessions.
The Union is not being greedy. We are only trying to protect what we have, nothing more. Make no mistake, this battle is about more than money, it is about labour peace.
Collective bargaining is always high stakes, but this round is about so much more. It is about ending this vicious cycle of putting your life on hold every three years. It is about stopping the disrespect from the Company demanding major concessions during record profits. It is about stopping a scab camp being built in order to lock us out. It is about our future.
Our Union came to the table with optimism. A fair deal should not have been out of the question with our Company’s strong financial successes. Still our Union compromised and proposed to take a concession and allow members the ability to switch to the DC plan.
During this round of bargaining our objective was to ensure pension security for our members. This meant allowing members to choose which pension plan they want to be on, and protecting that choice. This compromise is a concession and still not good enough for the Company.
We have been planning and saving for this moment for three years and all your work will pay off as we enter this battle with the greedy Company. This battle is not only about the issues, it is about respect, it is about protecting our future at the Co-op Refinery. It is about pushing back on a false narrative of sustainability during times of record profits.
Now is our time to stand up and say, enough is enough. The constant attacks need to end.
We need to stand together before we lose the ability to stand up at all.
Your calmness and professionalism in the lead up to this moment is commendable. You have stayed engaged and informed throughout the process and have made the bargaining committee’s job much easier in defending the attacks. The backing of the membership allows us to speak as one voice with the support of 730. Thank you.
We are entering an unknown and scary moment in our careers. Not being allowed to work by your employer and not receiving a regular paycheck is daunting. We are a family of 730 members. There will be lots of highs and lows in the coming months. We need to ensure we encourage each other when we are down. We need to look after each other and stick together as a team. There will be some who struggle emotionally and financially. We need to be there for them because tomorrow you could need that help too.
We have ways to make extra money if you and your family are hurting. Keep the UCP committee informed if you are struggling. We want everyone to be supported, if you do not need extra money, please allow those that do, the ability to pick up extra picketing shifts. In turn, if you will not be working your shifts, make sure they are posted as available.
The battle we are entering can only be won as a cohesive group. The only thing the Company cannot account for is us, the members. I have seen it for 23 years; our solidarity is unbelievable, unwavering and amazing to be apart of. The passion we have for our work and the Co-op system is directly related to the success of the Co-op Refinery and FCL. In the event of a lock out, we must turn the passion for our work into a passionate fight for our future at the Refinery.
This fight is about us resetting our workplace. A fight for respect. We just want to do our jobs and work for a company that does not create a stressful work environment every three years. This is a fight that will hopefully allow people to buy a house, start a family, and start building their future.
Our future begins now!