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Six months after their employer locked them out, morale among CUPE members at le Journal de Québec is still strong.

It’s been difficult. Families have fallen apart. Lives have been changed. And the culture at the newspaper - which had never seen a contract dispute in its 40 year history - has been changed forever.

“I’m disappointed by the employer’s attitude and their stubborness,” said graphic designer Denis Carpentier, who has worked at the paper for 23 years. “There’s a rift there now that will never close.”

For many, MediaMatinQuébec has been the inspiration that has kept them going. The workers began producing the daily, freely-distributed newspaper two days after the lockout began.

“We were really lucky to be able to have that,” said promotions department worker Brigitte Saint-Germain. “You feel like you’re building something. And it’s a trip to see the public support us. If I couldn’t distribute the paper, I think I would have left.”

Quebecor has gone to court to stop the workers from producing their newspaper, but they’ve been turned back every time.

Meanwhile, the Journal de Québec is still publishing, kept alive by content from other Quebecor news vehicles, ads sold from other offices, and scab labour.

The unions have won a complaint against the company under the province’s anti-scab law and have filed another.

The workers have also received a recent morale boost from delegates at CUPE’s national convention who bolstered their strike fund by part of more than $320,000 during a floor collection.