About fifteen firefighters represented by CUPE with the Prévost fire department in the Laurentians appeared before town council to implore elected officials to accept a mediation process to improve the working conditions at the station, before negotiations begin to renew the collective agreement.
Unfortunately, the mayor flatly refused their request, while also denying that the working environment at the fire department was unhealthy. He instead left the matter solely with the conciliation process that is part of negotiations.
The previous contract expired on December 31, 2021, and despite five meetings that have taken place between the parties since that time, no significant progress has been made at the bargaining table.
Another three meetings were scheduled for early in 2023. However, the town dismissed a firefighter, directly before holidays, and cancelled the first bargaining session, while requesting the appointment of a conciliator by the Ministry of Labour.
The union confirms that negotiations at the bargaining table has always been respectful.
“We can’t figure out the reason behind this decision. Before continuing negotiations, we are asking that a mediator be appointed to help us improve the work environment, that has been worsening from week to week,” says CUPE union representative Maxime Valade.
At a general meeting last January, members unanimously called for pressure tactics to be exercised, when appropriate, to advance bargaining.
“We are dealing with a town council that acts in good faith and is peaceful. We want to avoid resorting to pressure tactics at all costs. We also want to reassure the public that, regardless of the outcome of this situation, protecting the citizens is our priority, and at no time will this be compromised,” says Guillaume Aspireault-Massé, President of CUPE 7161.