Montreal, Thursday, October 18, 2001 – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has not withdrawn from any union affiliation campaign, neither in Quebec City nor elsewhere. And there is no back-room deal, either, with the Independent Federation of Autonomous Unions (FISA), despite what an editorial in The Gazette claims. Furthermore, this editorial claims that the Minister of Labour has suspended the certification of the Montreal outside workers. CUPE deplores the fact that The Gazette has based its editorial on unfounded premises.
The facts, and nothing but the facts
When The Gazette speaks about a back-room deal, it omits saying that the discussions between CUPE and FISA took place on the initiative of the Minister of Labour. On September 5, in the minister’s office, all FISA unions in the Montreal area committed themselves, in writing, to recommend to their members that they join the ranks of CUPE, including the City of Saint-Laurent, whose virtues are praised by The Gazette. It would have been more accurate to say that the representatives of that city’s union reneged on their signature and now have a grudge against CUPE, FISA, and even the Labour Commissioner.
The Gazette affirms that, according to the “deal”, Montreal gets CUPE-Quebec and FISA gets Quebec City. Nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to what the newspaper affirms, a union affiliation campaign is currently under way in the new Quebec City, where three unions are battling it out: CUPE, FISA, and the CNTU. Quebec City’s public employees will vote on October 23, and CUPE is confident of winning. Furthermore, yesterday, in the new City of Lv0069s, CUPE and FISA were competing for the affiliation of the outside workers. The results of the vote are not yet known, but it will surely be very close.
Origins of this hubbub
Along with municipal amalgamations, the Government of Quebec also imposed union amalgamations. When it came time to submit its applications to participate in the voting, FISA made some important procedural errors which could have invalidated their efforts. This was sorted out after meetings were arranged on the minister’s initiative and under his auspices. An amiable solution was agreed to by all parties, including the union representing the employees of the City of Saint-Laurent. Within the framework of this agreement, all presidents of FISA unions in the Montreal area, or their representatives, freely committed, in writing, to make a favourable recommendation to their members to join CUPE. Only one union did an about-face and refused to honour its signature, the union in the City of Saint-Laurent, which The Gazette wants to present to us as being the herald of democracy and fair play.
With almost 100,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represent members in many sectors including, health care, social services, education, universities, municipalities, hydroelectricity, urban transit, air transport, and Quebec public agencies. It is also the largest QFL affiliate.
SOURCE: CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (QFL)
Information: Robert Bellerose (514) 384-9681, ext. 239