For some time, there has been a groundswell of anger among the 600 City of Montreal crossing guards, whose working conditions lag far behind what most major cities in Quebec are offering.  As a result, this has created a serious problem recruiting and retaining personnel.

The ensuing labour shortage has meant that police officers, who are paid more than twice as much as crossing guards, have been called in to ensure the safety of children at intersections during school days.

What irritates these workers the most is the recent request by the City to allow parking enforcement officers, whose salary exceeds what crossing guards are paid by more than 50%, to step in and do their work during the COP15.

The union deplores this short-term vision, which will end up costing taxpayers a great deal, and indicated that the City had not taken any measures in recent months to resolve this staff shortage.

“Our crossing guards play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of children. Since the wages and working conditions are not up to par, these employees choose to go into another line of work, which is causing the problems we’re now experiencing. The City would rather turn to other groups of employees rather than tackle this problem,” declared CUPE representative Marie-Claude Lessard.

For quite some time now, the union has been demanding measures to lessen the effect of inflation on these employees, who work about 20 hours a week.  In the next few months, the union will wage a public campaign to raise the City’s awareness of the crossing guards’ situation.