850 outside workers in Laval, Quebec began a 24-hour strike today to denounce the close-mindedness, scorn and lack of transparency of labour relations department representatives at the bargaining table.

In the late afternoon, the outside workers took to the streets of Laval and marched to city hall.

CUPE 4545, the union representing Laval outside workers, are demanding that the mayor, Stéphane Boyer, get involved in this conflict, which has been dragging on for several years. To drive this message home to him, members will be demonstrating when a city council meeting is being held, which coincides with the third anniversary of his election to the mayor’s chair.

“We want to tell him that, in spite of the transparency expressed by the union to its demands, the employer is steadfastly refusing to divulge its wage offers. From what we understand, the offers are so ridiculous that city representatives fear that disclosing them would be like pouring gas on a fire,” said Louis-Pierre Plourde, president of CUPE 4545.

The breakdown in talks between the City of Laval and the union has gone on for months now. On September 26, the employer unilaterally cancelled a pre-arbitration mediation session to resolve the thousand or so grievances that have impacted the day-to-day activities of tens of outside workers for years. On October 25, the City of Laval asked the Ministry of Labour to appoint a mediator to these negotiations.

“In our view, turning to a mediator is premature, but we will be taking part in this 60-day mediation in good faith. Nonetheless, we filed a complaint against the City of Laval for interference and union obstruction, which is prohibited in the labour code,” said CUPE representative Stéphane Paré.

On April 26, 2023, outside workers voted 96% in favour of pressure tactics up to and including strike action.

The 50th blood donation clinic in Laval will also take place this November 7. In its role as a good corporate citizen, the union is inviting all of its members to donate blood before attending the demonstration at city hall. The union president and a team of outside workers will greet the blood donors and give them a pamphlet explaining the reasons for their one-day strike.