Two hundred and fifty two Journal de Québec workers can be proud. After a 16-month lock-out, Quebecor and its employees have come to a new agreement. Downtown, CUPE members were handing out the final edition of MediaMatinQuebec, a free paper published by the locked out workers ever since the beginning of the conflict in April 2007.
Claude Généreux, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer, was in Quebec City on Friday to meet with the workers. He saluted their tenacity: “It’s an emotional day for all of us. We’re proud to end this conflict with dignity. In this opening day of the Olympics, I feel that each one of the 252 workers deserve a gold medal for their solidarity. For the last 16 months, they showed an extraordinary sense of discipline, even though we never wanted this conflict. There was obviously some harsh feelings but no acts of violence or vandalism.”
Généreux also had a positive outlook about the MediaMatinQuebec adventure: “Of course, this initiative meant some major investments, but publishing this newspaper was an original and dynamic way to demonstrate our solidarity. This is part of the reason why we were able to face Quebecor and its aggressive attitude.”
Denis Bolduc, spokeperson for the Journal de Québec workers, expressed mixed feelings. He first wanted to thank the people of Quebec City: “During this long conflict, we have developed a strong relationship with our readers. We could feel their support and so we are a little sad to put an end to MediaMatinQuebec. However, this conflict lasted long enough and we are glad to finally sign a collective agreement that meets our expectations.”
Bolduc also talked about the support his local got from CUPE. “MediaMatinQuebec would not have been possible without the significant support we received from CUPE. The national office believed in us from day one and allowed us to remain proud by doing what we know best: publishing a newspaper. The support we got from our brothers and sisters all over the country showed us what solidarity is all about.”
More information: see http://cupe.ca/strikes/journaldequebeclockout
Interviews: Luc Tittley, 416-910-2389