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Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu outside municipal workers will file a Human Rights Commission complaint against their employer’s spying and intimidation tactics, which the union says could turn their current round of contract talks into another Verdun. In Verdun, CUPE members were on strike in 1999 for 18 months against an intransigent employer.

CUPE Local 3055 says town mayor Gilles Dolbec has installed surveillance cameras and hired a security company to spy on its 160 members. The cameras were installed in the municipal garage without consultation.

The local says they’re aimed at employee work areas, not entrances and other areas where normal security cameras are pointed.

“The situation has become intolerable,” says National Representative Fernand Clr0069cy. “We’re not asking for special privileges. We’re merely asking that our rights be respected.”

Contracts for both the outside workers and Local 4134, which represents 140 inside workers expired in December 2001. Since then, the city has been stalling negotiations and attempting to contract-out inside work in violation of the collective agreement.