• ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
CanadaNewsTrucking

Canadian fuel haulers’ losses mount in ugly dispute between union, refinery (with video)

Dedicated carriers serving the Co-op Refinery in Saskatchewan stuck in the middle as a labor dispute cuts off their livelihood.

There’s no sugarcoating the situation facing the small group of trucking companies dedicated to hauling fuel from the Co-op Refinery Complex in Saskatchewan to gas stations and customers in Western Canada.

It’s bad. Really bad.

The 26 companies, with 160 trucks and more than 300 drivers, haven’t been able to service the Regina facility on all but a single day since Jan. 20. The reason: a barricade by the union Unifor, whose members are in a bitter contract dispute with the refinery owner, Federated Co-operatives Limited.

The largest fuel-hauler, C.S. Day Transport, lost more than C$500,000 in revenue in January alone — a staggering sum for a firm with just 23 tractors and 45 drivers.

“We just want to get all the guys back to work,” Heather Day, president of C.S. Day Transport, told FreightWaves.

Day said the company is dipping into its reserves and has put off solar panels to keep its drivers on the payroll — and give them a substantial portion of what they would earn serving the refinery.

“We want to have our skilled group of drivers ready to go as soon as this ends,” Day said.

The blockade, in apparent defiance of a court order to limit truck delays to 10 minutes, escalated an increasingly untenable situation for fuel haulers into a dire one. Unifor members had been delaying trucks since early December after the owner locked them out in response to a strike notice.

Drivers report intimidation, punctured tires

The dedicated carriers are effectively between a rock and a hard place because they can’t service other customers without jeopardizing their business with the refinery.

“They’re caught in the middle of all this,” said Susan Ewart, executive director of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association.

Alongside the delays, multiple trucking companies reported punctured tires and instances of driver intimidation. Recently, a black SUV followed one of Day’s drivers to a gas station.

The heart of the dispute involves pension benefits for refinery workers represented by Unifor. Federated Co-operatives Limited and the union have at least one point of agreement: Fuel-haulers are getting rough.

“It’s a tough situation for the truckers,” acknowledged Kevin Bittman, president of Unifor Local 594.

Bittman denied that his members have sabotaged any trucks or intimidated drivers — but was also unapologetic about Unifor’s hard line on the pension dispute.  

Federated Co-operatives blames Unifor for creating the situation in the first place. A spokesperson also acknowledged the impact on its dedicated trucking companies.

“We understand their frustration and thank them for their patience and continued support,” said Federated Co-operatives spokesperson Brad Delorey.

Day, for her part, hopes Federated Co-operatives and Unifor reach an agreement “sooner rather than later” and has been checking in with fuel customers to ensure her drivers can rapidly deploy to serve them when they’re able.

The Regina Police Service considers the blockade illegal but has given no indications they will try to move it by force. In the absence of an agreement, Day wants the police to remove the barricade.

“We’re crossing our fingers and hoping the Regina Police will do the right thing,” Day said.

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Nate Tabak, Border and North America Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist who covers cross-border trucking, logistics and trade for FreightWaves. Before moving to Canada, he spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at ntabak@freightwaves.com.

31 Comments

  1. WHY WASN’T NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh ARRESTED ??? That would have been PRICELESS !
    ARE LAWS NOT SUPPOSE TO BE EQUALLY APPLIED TOWARDS EVERYONE ???

    NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh WAS AT AN ILLEGAL BARRICADE IN CONTEMPT OF COURT SUPPORTING MISCHIEF WHILE COMMITTING MISCHIEF ! NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was IN CONTEMPT OF COURT in disgrace !

    Quote:

    “Visiting the barricade at Gate 7 outside the Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC), Singh called the labour disruption “an attack on all workers.”

    FURTHERMORE HE ARROGANTLY USED THE WORD “SCABS” TO DESCRIBE STRIKEBREAKERS ! THAT MP HAS NO CLASS, IMHO

    Quote :

    Unifor spokesman Scott Doherty was arrested by Regina police

    REGINA — Scott Doherty, executive assistant to Unifor national president Jerry Dias was arrested by Regina police on Thursday.
    “I was phoned by the Regina Police Service saying they needed to speak to me about mischief charges and I turned myself in and they processed me and I was back out in the same day,” Doherty told CTV News Regina.
    He said he was approached by police earlier this week, but was not available to meet with RPS members until Thursday.

    “They explained when I talked to them that they were going to arrest me for mischief,” Doherty said.
    Along with others arrested, he will no longer be allowed within 500 metres of the refinery.”

    That’s the second Unifor leader to have been “arrested” and restrained from approaching the refinery by 500 meters .

    Jagmeet Singh would have been the third “leader” . We could have dubbed them the 3 stooges , LOL !

    IMHO

  2. Quote :

    February 12 2020

    Judge fines union $250,000 for contempt over Co-op Refinery blockade

    A Regina judge found “overwhelming” evidence that an injunction protecting access to the Co-op Refinery was not obeyed, but he rejected jail time.

    “A judge is fining Unifor 594 $250,000 for contempt of court and ordering community service for one member of the local executive.”

  3. Refinery up one AGAIN over Unifor ! That’s one heck of an “Ace” in FCL’s pocket ! I’m betting FCL is holding an “Ace-high straight flush”(Royal Flush) in this poker game vs Unifor , IMHO !

    Quote:
    February 19 2020

    “Co-op offering cash to truckers affected by refinery dispute”

    Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) will be giving cash payments to independently contracted trucking companies affected by Unifor’s blockade of the Regina refinery and other Co-op sites.

    The payments will be about 75 per cent of what truckers would have been making, applied retroactively to lease operators in Regina as well as those in Alberta and Winnipeg.

    “We value the perseverance and support of all our independent trucking fleet partners and we recognize how badly Unifor’s illegal blockades hurt them,” Scott Banda, FCL’s chief executive officer, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

    “Unifor’s illegal actions have negatively affected their individual well-being and that of their families, so we’re doing all we can to help them.”

    About 40 companies will receive the payments.

    In a statement, Saskatchewan Trucking Association board member Heather Day was appreciative.
    “The last two months have been difficult for both small and large independent lease operators. The men and women who join the trucking industry, and particularly the fuel transportation sector, are vitally aware of our responsibilities to the public and the essential role we play in maintaining Canadians’ way of life,” she said.

    “We’re very appreciative that FCL and (the Co-op Refinery Complex) recognize the hardships that we have endured during this labour disruption.

    The lease operators, drivers, and our other staff take immense pride in helping to fuel Western Canada and are wholly committed to ensuring fuel is delivered across the West.”

    Truckers were delayed at the picket line at the refinery during the dispute and, in one case, a number of trucks were locked in at the facility after Unifor put up fences behind them.

    The lockout at the refinery started Dec. 5.”

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