The building engineers at the Université de Montréal have signed a new collective agreement, resolving a serious issue. 100% of them approved the agreement at a general meeting on Wednesday. Their union was able to avoid the elimination of several positions and major changes to the work schedule. This will ensure the protection of the University’s buildings and equipment, as the engineers are first responders in incidents involving electrical, plumbing, gas, heating, etc.
Earlier this fall, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) had sounded the alarm about the organization of the work. The union feared that an insufficient presence of the approximately 18 building engineers would lead to an increase in outages and technical problems. It cited, as an example, the major, five-day computer breakdown that seriously disrupted the start of term last August.
On August 24, a fire alarm was triggered in the server room of the Université de Montréal IT headquarters. With no building engineer on duty, firefighters called to the scene were not properly informed. As a result, inadequate shutdowns caused major IT and phone outages.
On October 18, the building engineers voted 93% in favour of pressure tactics, up to a strike.
The new contract includes wage increases in line with the Government of Quebec salary policy (PSG), as well as an update to the apprentice and journeyman provision.
“The building engineers have made their point. The new agreement will ensure sufficient staffing for them to fulfil their prevention and maintenance role. Ultimately, the resulting stability will benefit the entire university community,” said CUPE adviser Guy De Blois.
With more than 111,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents 11,000 university employees, mostly support staff. CUPE is also present in the following sectors: social services, education, energy, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, air and urban transport, and the mixed sector.
Guy De Blois, CUPE union adviser, mobile: 514 238-1167
Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Information, mobile: 438 882-3756