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Rouyn-Noranda, Monday, November 4, 2002 - In an interview on Radio-Nord October 24, Lucie Roger, Human Resources Director for the City of Malartic, announced the municipal administration’s intention to cooperate fully with the media. It appears that the past year has been somewhat disastrous for the City’s administration. Not only did it receive a petition bearing close to 600 signatures demanding that the Council resign, but it was also caught red-handed by an investigator from the Ministr0065 du Travail employing a scab worker. No doubt this is the reason behind the City’s sudden desire to transform its image.

Ms. Roger has taken on the job of answering the journalists’ questions. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing Malartic’s locked-out inside workers, wonders if this new desire for transparency will finally enable the citizens to find out certain facts, such as the wage, bonuses and other benefits related to the treasurer’s position; the terms of the end of employment agreement of the executive director and the recreation director; and the total amount of lawyers fees paid in 2001 and 2002. These are important questions and the answers that we are waiting to hear from Lucie Roger could finally set the record straight for the residents.

In the same interview, the Human Resources Director insisted that “we’ve done good things in Malartic.” She pointed to paving “throughout the sector,” and the drinking water file “which is coming very well.” If this is transparency, we’ve certainly seen better! It should be added that repaving a few segments of the roads in question had to be done again after the initial work had actually damaged the asphalt. And, as for the drinking water, it is not very reassuring to proudly state that it is coming very well … Is the water fit for drinking or not?

CUPE points out that not everything is going well in Malartic. The inside workers have been locked out since April 29, the citizens no longer have access to the Town Hall, and the children can no longer go to the municipal library. The city has asked the Commission de l’accs0020 006c’information to refuse the union’s demands, the administration has violated the Labour Code by hiring a scab and thousands of dollars of the taxpayers’ funds have been swallowed up in lawyers’ fees.

During the interview, Lucie Roger also stated that “the claims the inside workers are making because they’re locked out … I understand them and we’re going to respect them.” The union wonders what this means. “If the City administration understands the inside workers’ position and says it will respect it, does this mean that the workers have been locked out for nothing?” wondered Georges Landry, CUPE representative. “If the municipality is prepared to apply and respect the collective agreement signed in February 2000, why are our members locked out? We consider that respecting the municipal employees begins by respecting the labour contract negotiated between the two parties,” he concluded.

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