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Sherbrooke, Wednesday, June 4, 2003 - Throughout the day, support staff at the Sherbrooke University (UdeS) participated in a secret ballot to choose their union affiliation. A large majority of the union members chose to be represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), affiliated with the FTQ. The secret ballot was held as part of a referendum during which the support employees, 70% of whom are women, were invited to express their wishes in one of 13 polling stations set up in the various pavilions of the UdeS, including the Longueuil campus. 75.1% voted in favour of CUPE.

For Alain Aubé, president of the Syndicat des employées et employés de soutien de l’UdeS (SEESUS), this decision to join CUPE makes very good sense. “Labour relations have become increasingly complex,” he explained. “For example, wage equity and occupational health issues have become overly complicated. It is very advantageous for our members to be able to count on the resources and specialized services of a large union rather than on a single legal advisor who cannot be an expert in everything. In addition, almost all university support employees are members of CUPE, so, for us, it creates an ideal network for exchange and coordination.”

Heirs of a long union tradition at the UdeS campus, until now, support employees were represented by SEESUS, an independent union founded in 1974. The changeover to CUPE has occurred very naturally since SEESUS has been working very closely with CUPE for several years now, according to a service agreement linking the two organizations. Alain Aubé pointed out that, following its affiliation with CUPE, the support staff’s union will continue its activities under the SEESUS banner.

It should be noted that SEESUS counts some 1,100 support employees at the UdeS, while CUPE represents 15,000 members in the education sector, 8,000 of whom work for Québec universities, principally as support staff. CUPE is also active in other sectors including communications, municipalities, health and social services, hydroelectricity, urban and air transportation, provincial corporations and public organizations. It is also the largest FTQ affiliate.

This press release and other information are posted on the Internet at scfp.qc.ca

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