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Montra006c, Monday, December 9, 2002 The Union for the blue collar workers in Montra006c (CUPE) considers the press conference held yesterday by the City of Montra006c to be inopportune and unjustified. During the briefing, municipal representatives accused the Montra006c blue collar workers’ union of having made excessive demands and not showing up for a meeting with the conciliator a little earlier the same day. The City then called on the Government of Qub0065c to appoint a mediator.

The Montra006c blue collar workers’ union declared it was surprised by the employer’s poorly timed public announcement. It seems the City has taken this pretext as an opportunity to launch a public relations campaign against us, stated Michel Fontaine, CUPE union representative. The management knew that the union could not attend the meeting on Friday morning. In fact, union representatives had advised the conciliator that they were involved in a bargaining sprint for the Six Flags union members. In this type of situation, it’s better to strike while the iron is hot and conclude an agreement when it appears that a file could be closed in the short term, the proof of which is that a settlement was made with the Six Flags representatives that very morning, added Michel Fontaine.

Early on Friday, the conciliator had informed the Union that the City understood the situation and that the meeting would simply be postponed. A few hours later, the management held its press conference to ask for a mediator. Did they think we would just sit back and watch? wondered Michel Fontaine. For CUPE the conciliation process is still in progress and the blue collar workers’ representatives are still waiting for a formal response from the City concerning their proposal to harmonize the collective agreements, filed on December 2.

As for the union demands, Michel Fontaine pointed out that, contrary to what is being said, Bill 170 does not force the parties to harmonize the collective agreements at zero price. We are still in the free bargaining stage, he insisted, So we can find the most beneficial settlement for both parties without being tied to the zero price formula. From our point of view, it’s our duty to ensure that, as everywhere, our members who perform equivalent work have equivalent working conditions. For the merger to succeed, it is important that the collective agreements are harmonized rapidly. It’s as simple as that.

CUPE represents 70% of all municipal employees in Qub0065c. In addition to the municipalities, CUPE is active in 10 other sectors of activity in Qub0065c including health and social services, education, urban and air transportation, hydroelectricity, provincial corporations and public organizations and communications. With close to 100,000 members in Qub0065c, it is the largest FTQ affiliate.

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