Blue-collar workers in Sherbrooke, more than half of whom find themselves in a precarious situation due to their status as temporary employees, are raising the alarm over the mismanagement of human resources by the City.
“You don’t see this in any other city in the province that calls itself serious. Less than half of the blue-collar workers here are permanent. That’s unacceptable at a time of labour shortages. We have to improve our ability to recruit workers to protect taxpayers, because any move away from in-house services puts the City at the mercy of the private sector, which costs a great deal more,” denounced CUPE union representative Réal Leboeuf.
In-house public services provide an effective buffer against corruption and price hikes. Whether the issue is snow removal, building maintenance or pothole repairs, the 550 blue-collar workers are indispensable to the effective operation of the City.
“We not only have a front row seat to see how the City is being managed, but as residents of Sherbrooke, we are also taxpayers. What we are seeing and experiencing is worrisome, We were hoping for a little more leadership from the new mayor, who recently campaigned on her willingness to make the City a model employer, pointed out Monique Lortitch, president of the Sherbrooke blue-collar workers union (CUPE 2729).
While a mayoralty candidate, Évelyne Beaudin repeated that she wanted to modernize labour relations. The union mentioned that a rather simple first step in this direction would be to make the workers permanent employees to protect public services.