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On September 13, in a secret ballot that lasted all day, the great majority of members of the bus drivers’ union of the Société de transport de Laval (STL) opted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The vote in favour of CUPE was unequivocal. With 446 of the 497 union members voting, 396 or 88.5 per cent chose CUPE.

The STL bus drivers are joining their colleagues in the greater metropolitan area, including those with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL), all affiliated with CUPE. This is a major turning point for the STL drivers who had been members of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) for 42 years.

The president of the STL bus drivers union, Richard Ouimet, said that more than anything else, “the lack of adequate services prompted the drivers to seek out membership in a different union.”

CUPE is delighted with the decision of the STL drivers. CUPE-Quebec president Lucie Levasseur welcomed, “the arrival of this new group that reinforces CUPE’s representation in the public transit sector.”

CUPE-Quebec director Michel Bibeault, who is very familiar with this sector having worked in it for years, noted, “CUPE has in-depth knowledge of the urban transport sector; a number of its representatives who have worked in this sector will be able to share their expertise to the benefit of the STL drivers for years to come.”

With the addition of the Laval bus drivers, CUPE now represents over 6,000 members in urban transport in Quebec. CUPE is also present in ten other sectors in Quebec, including health and social services, education, municipalities, airlines and communications. With a total of close to 105,000 members in Quebec, it is the largest affiliate of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ).