On Tuesday, employees of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie turned out in huge numbers outside the Memphremagog health and social services centre in Magog. The event was primarily a “day of recognition” organized by CUPE, whose aim was to raise the profile of these employees who work under particularly arduous circumstances.

CUPE pointed out that employees of the CIUSSS have to contend with several persistent problems – overwork, violence on the job, burnout and distress. This creates a vicious circle of absenteeism and staff shortages. The union is calling for a series of improvements to working conditions to put an end to this crisis.

CUPE took that opportunity to shed light on the difficulties of negotiating a local collective agreement.

“The negotiations under way deal with job posting and assignment conditions, among other things. These conditions have major consequences for employees. Until now, the employer has generally been asking us for more latitude for itself and for more constraints on employees. That’s exactly the type of signal you don’t want to send to employees who are already at the end of their rope. They need help, not additional constraints,” explained Éric Bergeron, the CUPE union representative.

The event was organized by CUPE 4475, which represents more than 5,400 of category 2 employees of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS. Category 2 covers paratechnical personnel, auxiliary services and trades. CUPE members account for about 30 per cent of all staff of the CIUSSS de l’Estrie.

Note that members of the Comité de vigie Memphremagog and representatives of the Conseil provincial des affaires sociales (CPAS-CUPE) took part in the event.