Right to civil liberties
In Canada, during the protracted conflict between the Co-op Refinery Complex and Unifor Local 594 regarding the negotiation of the collective agreement, union members began holding rallies and picketing while the company locked them out.
On 16 December 2019, the employer sought a court injunction against Unifor to impose interim restrictions on Unifor’s ability to picket, including restrictions on the amount of time picketers could detain vehicles from entering the premises. Over the next month, there were accusations of union members violating this order, and on 21 January 2021, Unifor president Jerry Dias and thirteen other union members were arrested.
In the early morning of 5 February 2020, union members were arrested and charged for picketing outside of the Co-op refinery’s petroleum distribution department in Regina, Saskatchewan. Those arrested included Ryan James David Briggs, James Peter Robert Cheeseman, Scott McKinnon, and Steven Angus Vargo. All four trade unionists were charged with mischief under Can$5,000 (US$ 4,002) and disobeying a court order. Their scheduled court date was 23 March 2020.
On 12 February, Unifor was ordered to pay Can$250,000 (US$200,084) for “repeatedly violating the court injunction” between 28 December 2019 and 27 January 2020. The Unifor Local 594 president, Kevin Bittman, was found not guilty, while vice president Lance Holowachuk was found guilty and required to perform 40 hours of community service.