Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
SASKATOON – In recent months, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) CEO Scott Banda has made a lot of major announcements over the last six months. They included a carbon capture and utilization partnership with Whitecap Resources, the sale of its upstream oil producing assets, the purchase of much of Husky’s gas stations, a renewable diesel facility and canola crush plant. And several years before, the Regina Refinery Complex completed a major expansion, adding Section V and bringing its nameplate capacity up to 130,000 bpd.
But on Jan. 25, it was announced to staff that Banda would be retiring this upcoming May after 20 years with FCL.
The announcement was made public by FCL on Jan. 26. That FCL announcement stated, “During his 12 years as CEO and through his career at FCL, Scott has made a lasting impact on the entire organization and on Co-op’s across Western Canada. His focus on advancing our Vision of Building Sustainable Communities Together continues to benefit local Co-ops and the over 600 communities they serve.
“FCL has experienced significant growth and evolution under Scott’s leadership, always with a sharp focus on creating value and ensuring the sustainability of the entire Co-operative Retailing System (CRS). As much as Scott has accomplished throughout his career, he has remained true to his prairie and co-operative roots and the value of working together to benefit our member co-ops and local communities. That’s what makes Co-op a different kind of business.
“Scott’s belief in the cooperative model and the virtuous circle of shared success has positioned FCL to thrive and ensure these Co-ops can continue to benefit their communities for future generations.
“Scott’s visionary leadership and commitment to upholding our values of Integrity, Excellence and Responsibility are the basis for his outstanding contributions and lasting legacy,” the announcement concluded.
Not everyone has been so supportive, however. In 2019, a lengthy battle with unionized workers at the Regina Refinery left a bitter taste for many workers who spent bitter cold days on the picket lines. Unifor Local 594 ratified an agreement in June, 2020, after a six month lockout which followed a strike vote. The dispute focused on employee pensions. A Facebook groups called Co-op/FCL Boycott 2019-2021 is still active, for instance. When Banda’s retirement was announced, posts on that group noted “refinery explosions that injured dozens,” and “union-busting battles against hundreds of loyal Co-op workers.”
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