The Syndicat des employés de techniques professionnelles et de bureau d’Hydro-Québec (CUPE Local 2000) has achieved a major victory before the Commission des relations du travail, Quebec’s labour relations board. The CRT concluded that Hydro did not have the right to terminate, without good cause, the letters of agreement governing union leaves and that this decision was made in retaliation for the “Golden M eters” campaign.
“This is a great victory for the union.These letters of agreement have existed since the mid-80s and then they’re suddenly cancelled after an advertising campaign. The employer’s behaviour was reprehensible because it was clearly a hindrance. We are pleased that the commissioner saw this the way we did, as an interference in union affairs,” said Danielle Lamy, attorney of record and CUPE legal advisor.
“Like last week’s decision regarding the president of the TVA union, this CRT decision reiterates that the rights of unions and union officials are protected.”
The decision on Hydro-Quebec finds the corporation’s action to be an offense under Section 12 of the Quebec Labour Code, which states that an employer may not hinder union activities.
“This was clearly a message to the union that it is not sufficiently conciliatory in the eyes of the employer and that it will pay the price. That is certainly enough to allow the complaint,” concluded Commissioner André Bussière.
The Commission therefore has directed Hydro-Québec to immediately restore the release of regional presidents and to reinstate all letters of agreement in effect.
With more than 110,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents about 17,880 members in the province’s energy sector. CUPE is also present in the following sectors: health and social services, communications, education, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, urban and air transport, the mixed sector, and universities.