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Montra006c, Thursday, February 27, 2002, at 11 p.m. – At a meeting this evening, support staff at the Universit 0064e Montra006c (UdeM), a large majority of whom are women, voted 59.3% (votes cast) in favour of giving their union executive a mandate for a general strike The strike will begin at one minute past midnight on Friday morning, February 28. The labour conflict affects close to 2,000 regular and temporary employees assigned to various university services such as admissions and registration, student file management, the cafeteria, general secretarial services, the library, etc.

The initial resolution proposed calling the strike for Monday, but was amended, practically unanimously, to begin the same evening at midnight.

The personnel of the Universit 0064e Montra006c have been without a contract since November 30, 2002. Bargaining, which began on September 17, 2002, is currently at an impasse in spite of the intervention of a conciliator appointed by the ministr0065 du Travail shortly before the Christmas holidays. The main issues involve male-female pay equity and internal job allocation as well as numerous violations of the collective agreement.

” The university wants to go back to a management system where the arbitrary becomes the rule; this is simply not acceptable to our members and they are angry. Don’t be surprise if the employees are not on the job tomorrow (Friday),” said Michel Ducharme, president of CUPE 1244-FTQ.

Pay Equity
Pay equity debate began in 1989, when the administration made a commitment to eliminate pay discrimination among support staff. In 1996, with this issue still in limbo, union members lodged a complaint with the Commission des droits de la personne (before the government’s adoption of the Pay Equity Act and the creation of the Commission de l’q0075it 0073alariale). During mediation before the Commission des droits de la personne, the parties recognized an average wage gap of $0.90 per hour between male and female positions. However, last spring, when the mediation ended, the University withdrew and refused to pay the amounts due, following which it rejected the $0.90 per hour assessment.

Then, in the autumn, it took another step. The Vice-Rector of Human Resources, Gisl0065 Painchaud, declared in the newspaper, Le Devoir (September 5, 2002, p. B1), that she recognized a wage gap “between $0.30 and $0.40 per hour.” At the same time, and throughout the autumn, beating the drum, the union led a vast campaign on the campus, including demonstrations and distribution of leaflets, under the slogan “Discriminating is stealing!”

The University refuses to apply the necessary remedial actions to close up the gap between the so-called male and female positions. At the same time, to the employees’ dismay, the university’s senior management saw their salaries increased by more than 25% between 2000 and 2002.

Job Posting and Allocation
Since June 2002, the University has ended the previous practice of allocating positions internally, without having negotiated new rules with the union. The UdeM now applies its own criteria during personnel selection. According to the union, the administration is seeking to increase its management rights and to give more power to its managers by permitting them to choose the individuals that suit them.

Local 1244 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees groups close to 2,000 support employees at the UdeM, over 80% of whom are women. CUPE also represents some 15,000 members in the education sector, including 8,000 in Qub0065c’s universities, principally support staff. Active in several other sectors such as communications, municipalities, health and social services, hydroelectricity, provincial corporations and public organizations, and urban and air transportation, CUPE has close to 100,000 members, making it the largest FTQ affiliate.

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

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Michel Ducharme, President, CUPE 1244,
Cell.: (514) 246-1595 (operative on Thursday and Friday, February 27 and 28)
Robert Bellerose, CUPE Communications,
cell. : (514) 247-9266