Rimouski, Thursday May 16 2002 On April 29, the City of Malartic and its mayor, Guy-Ann Desjardins, declared a lock-out, leaving its nine inside workers out of work. But they wont be left without resources as the 160 delegates at the Municipal Sector Convention in Rimouski have decided to financially support the locked out employees. The 250 locals, representing more than 25 000 municipal workers in Quebec, have declared their support for their sisters and brothers in Malartic.
At the employers request, negotiations were conducted in the presence of a conciliator appointed by the Labour minister. The key issue in dispute is job security. The employer wants to abolish job security clauses won in 1999, after a 4 month long strike. Of course, the employees wont hear of it.
The conciliator tabled a proposal that won union support but the employer said no, and then proceeded to declare a lock-out. Marjolaine Boutin, local president of CUPE 4224, warns, These workers refuse to be intimidated by an abusive employer. Theyll put up a good fight for their rights. The locked out workers find the employers attitude utterly unfair, especially as their outside colleagues just recently signed a new collective agreement guaranteeing job security.
CUPE represents approximately 70 per cent of all municipal workers in Qub0065c. In addition to the municipal sector, CUPE is active in ten other sectors in the province including health and social services, education, urban and air transport, hydroelectricity, communications, government corporations and public agencies in Qub0065c. With close to 100,000 members in Qub0065c, CUPE is the largest QFL affiliate.