Co-op wins court injunction against Unifor blockade at fuel terminal southeast of Calgary
Union has been blockading Carseland facility since Jan. 25
Federated Co-operatives Ltd. has won an interim court injunction against striking union members who have set up a barricade at its fuel terminal southeast of Calgary.
Unifor-represented Co-op employees have been locked out of Regina's Co-op Refinery Complex since Dec. 5.
"Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) has stated clearly that it will not negotiate the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) collective bargaining agreement with Unifor again while the union maintains illegal blockades at CRC and other FCL facilities," the company said in a statement Wednesday.
"Unifor is turning away Co-op fuel trucks so this illegal blockade has stopped the flow of fuel from this critical infrastructure facility into the rest of Alberta. Across Alberta, that's hurting everyone from farmers preparing for seeding, to truckers hauling much-needed goods, to school buses starting their routes from the Co-op cardlock at Carseland."
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Glenda Campbell granted the company an interim injunction to stop the union's blockade on Thursday morning in Calgary.
She said the blockade must come down, but picketers can remain at the site so long as they do not restrict access or intimidate anyone trying to enter the property.
Speaking at an event in Carseland on Wednesday, Co-op CEO Scott Banda said a number of Co-op gas bars and cardlocks in southern Alberta will face periodic fuel outages because of the blockade.
Pensions have been at the heart of the labour dispute.
"There's a lot of complexities to the bargaining. One of the major issues is a pension plan. Their pension plan is 100 per cent funded by the employer. It's unsustainable," Banda said.
The union says it's sensitive to the impact its actions are having on consumers, but its 800 members' futures are at stake.
"We're more than happy to let the locals in, fuel up. We're not trying to disrupt them in any way," said Unifor member Derek Emperingham.
"We just need the trucks to stop, so our message gets there, so we can get back to the table."
With files from Elise von Scheel