On Saturday, April 1, from noon to 5 pm, unionized SAQ employees held an awareness campaign outside five outlets in Greater Montreal. They gave customers free wine bags bearing the slogan of their “… c’est pire” [it’s worse] campaign, a satire on the SAQ’s “Inspire” points program.
They also shared a few words on the many benefits of keeping the SAQ in the public sector.
“Each year, the SAQ gives more than $1 billion in dividends to the Quebec Government, in addition to about a billion in federal and provincial sales taxes. That income supports public services, mainly in health and education. Privatizing the SAQ would produce a total shortfall of a billion dollars, which would lead to service cuts or tax increases,” according to Marc Ranger, Quebec Director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“The SAQ enables regional equity. You can buy a bottle of wine in Chibougamau for the same price as in Montreal. The SAQ system of warehouses and distribution is extremely productive and efficient. The SAQ provides quality jobs across the province of Quebec. Its employees are highly professional and highly motivated; they offer unmatched service to the population,” stressed Patrick Lessard, president of CUPE local 3535.
“Here in Quebec, we sometimes forget the many benefits of the SAQ. Clearly, the politicians are not making an effort to remind us of those benefits. We ask the Couillard Government to stop flirting with the big retail lobbies and to consider the collective good. We also invite the opposition parties to vigorously defend the SAQ,” said Denis Bolduc, president of CUPE Quebec.
Image of bottle bags with the campaign slogan: http://bit.ly/2omG8bT
Of the five branches targeted this Saturday, two are located in Montreal: one at the Atwater Market and the other at 900 Beaubien East. Two other outlets are on the North Shore at 86 Brien Boulevard in Repentigny and 1100 des Seigneurs East in Terrebonne. The fifth is at 1611 Roland-Therrien Boulevard in Longueuil.
CUPE 3535, the SAQ workers’ union, represents about 850 employees, including about 200 at the Quebec City distribution centre and 650 at the Montreal distribution centre. These employees work in handling and delivery, as well as in trades and maintenance.
With more than 110,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents some 3800 members in government corporations and public agencies. CUPE is also present in the following sectors: health and social services, communications, education, universities, energy, municipalities, air and urban transport, and the mixed sector.