89% of Unifor Local 594 members reject Co-op Refinery offer

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The honking and the parade were uninterrupted for much of the morning as the union members had to find a way to demonstrate while maintaining social distancing.

“We’re ready to go back to work,” said Bittman, speaking near the front doors of the Legislative Building as union members honked their horns.

At the refinery, daily production has been reined in from 110,000 – 120,000 barrels of oil a day to 90,000 — effectively a 30 per cent cut. In a March release the CRC said it couldn’t accept the recommendations put forward by Ready due to the current economic climate.

“A drastic decline in the consumer consumption of fuel and rapidly declining oil prices that have put the CRC in a more difficult financial position than when negotiations began,” the company said in a release.

Despite global demand cratering, Bittman was confident that demand will surge once the pandemic had passed and people are back on the road.

“COVID is a little blip in the economy right now, but once people start driving there’s going to be a demand and there’s high profit margins in oil refining right now,” said Bittman.

But the call Wednesday was for intervention. Bittman said the province appointing a special mediator was a good first step but more has to be done.

“Finish what you started,” said Bittman. “It needs to end.”

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