La grande manifestation du Syndicat des cols blancs de l’île de Montréal le 9 décembre dernier. Photo Michel Chartrand

The 8,000 white-collar workers of the City of Montreal will be on a rotating strike for 36 days from January 25 to February 29. The various services, offices and boroughs of the city will be affected in turn. This wave will culminate in a general strike day on March 1, the deadline for the payment of municipal taxes. In addition, the white collars will not do any overtime work during this period. However, they will provide all essential services prescribed by law.

With this strike, they are protesting the Coderre administration’s determination to open the floodgates to subcontracting and privatization. They want to raise awareness that this indefensible offensive against internal expertise persists although they have been without a collective agreement for more than four years.

“The work of the Charbonneau Commission and their final report has demonstrated repeatedly that the fight against collusion is impossible without a strong, healthy public service. Instead, the white collars find themselves in the midst of an all-out war with the Coderre administration. The administration wants to eliminate any checks on subcontracting and to reduce the total compensation of white-collar workers by 12 to 14%. We will therefore defend Montreal’s internal expertise with all our might, as long as the Coderre administration refuses to listen to reason,” said Alain Fugère, president of the Island of Montréal white-collar union (CUPE 429).

“The precise words of Recommendation 25 of the Charbonneau Comission are: Internal expertise is an effective bulwark against collusion. Mayor Coderre was elected on the promise that he would strengthen that internal expertise. We want him to explain to Montrealers why he has changed his mind,” added the union president.

Specifically, the City wants to contract out all the work performed by a permanent employee in each of the following sectors: logistics of the purchase and distribution of clothing; information technology; printing; sports and recreation; post offices; parking officers; all or part of the activities already under contract (libraries and public works); and finally, all work carried out by auxiliary workers.

The detailed calendar of the rotating strike is available at

With more than 110,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents about 70% of the province’s municipal employees, who account for 31,000 of the union’s members.