Boucherville, Friday, May 30, 2014 – Last Friday, more than 400 members of the Coalition syndicale pour la libre négociation [Union Coalition for Free Negotiation] demonstrated at a conference of the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de la Rive-Sud [South Shore Chamber of Commerce and Industry]. The guest speaker was Pierre Moreau, Minister of Municipal Affairs. He was introduced by Suzanne Roy, the new president of the Union of Quebec Municipalities.
The Coalition members demonstrated outside the Mortagne Hotel in Boucherville, between 11 a.m. and noon. They reminded Mr. Moreau and Ms. Roy that the challenges facing pension plans can be resolved effectively through negotiation. They also indicated their unconditional rejection of any “bulldozer law” from the National Assembly that would attack retirees and impose a straitjacket.
“Municipal employees in Quebec are very worried. The debate on the future of pension plans has deteriorated to the point that retirement incomes are in question. Let’s take a deep breath: the pension situation has improved significantly over the past two years. In addition, unions are negotiating responsible agreements every week, which are significantly alleviating pressure on the plans,” said Coalition spokesperson Marc Ranger.
Launched on March 20, with the motto “Negotiation, not confrontation!”, the Coalition comprises a total of more than 65,000 members: white collars, blue collars, firefighters, police officers, professionals and employees of transportation companies. It represents virtually all unionized municipal employees in Quebec. It categorically opposes any bill that would undermine the fundamental right to free collective bargaining on the issue of pensions.
On May 21, more than 12,000 members of the Coalition demonstrated outside the National Assembly. On April 24, more than 2,500 demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) in Montreal. On April 15, 1000 delegates from various unions met at the Montreal Convention Centre. They unanimously adopted a resolution opposing any “bulldozer law” that would impose “wall-to-wall” outcomes and block free negotiation.
The Coalition consists of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-Québec) and its Municipal Sector Provincial Council as well as its ground transport sector, the Fédération des employées et employés de services publics (FEESP-CSN), the Fédération indépendante des syndicats autonomes (FISA), the Fédération des policiers et policières municipaux du Québec, the Association des pompiers de Montréal, the Regroupement des associations de pompiers du Québec, and the Syndicat des pompiers et pompières du Québec – FTQ.