Windsor Unifor leader among 14 charged with mischief at Co-op Refinery in Regina
Ken Anderson says about 40 union members from Windsor are currently protesting in Regina
Unifor Local 200 Ford plant chairperson Ken Anderson was among 14 people arrested and charged with mischief throughout Monday afternoon and evening for protesting at the Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina, Sask.
All 14 spent several hours in jail and were later released, but not before local police fingerprinted those arrested. Unifor national president Jerry Dias was among the group arrested and charged. Those arrested must now stay at least 500 metres away from pickets.
"It was not like they're going to drop it," Anderson said. "It was all legit, and as of right now, obviously it's in our lawyers' hands."
Approximately 40 union members from Windsor are currently in Regina taking part in protests at the Co-op Refinery Complex, after Unifor Local 594 issued a 48-hour strike notice in early December that culminated in the refinery locking out employees on Dec. 5, 2019.
The strike notice and lockout came after pension bargaining broke down in November without an agreement.
"[Unifor Local] 444 has been here since day one, they've been rotating in and out about every two weeks," said Anderson, who took part in protests throughout the winter holidays, left to go on a family vacation and returned to Regina afterwards.
Anderson said members from Unifor Local 200, Local 195 and "some higher ranking people" from Local 2458 are also protesting.
"There's a good showing here locally from Windsor," he said, adding that more members are "coming in bigger droves."
"We've got issues as far as the logistics of getting them there, but there'll be more and more. We're not going to be getting smaller, we're only going to be getting bigger."
Unifor leaders calling for solidarity
On Tuesday, Unifor Local 444 released a Facebook video featuring president Dave Cassidy calling on members to participate and support Co-op Refinery employees in Regina.
Anderson also spoke with Local 200 president John D'Agnolo, who said he's also calling on members to lend their support.
"I know that all the locals from Windsor are sending anyone who can give their time and make it," said Anderson. "They're working out the logistics right now as far as flights and everything."
Watch Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy talk about the Co-op Refinery protests:
Dias said about 720 Unifor members are currently on strike.
"About 500 have flown in from other parts of the country, and there's probably another couple hundred more on the way as we speak," he said. "There'll be a few hundred more coming in tomorrow."
Dias said the labour movement has been galvanized "like it hasn't been in years," adding that other major Canadian unions — including the Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) — have contacted Unifor to say "they are opening up the taps and they're bringing bodies out from across the country."
"So this is going to get big and it's going to get big very quickly," Dias said.
With files from Dale Molnar