At a general meeting this Monday night, Montreal school crossing guards voted 83% in favour of a tentative agreement reached last May 17 with the City of Montreal. This agreement firms up a new five-year collective agreement, which will cover the period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020.

The new collective agreement gradually increases the hourly wage from $16.14 to $19 from 2016-2020. Previously, Montreal school crossing guards who were both permanent and full-time earned an annual salary of $13,000.

“The main objective of these negotiations was to achieve major wage catch-up in order for 620 school crossing guards to receive the recognition they deserve for the work they do. This agreement marks a major step forward, and we’re very proud of it,” said Diane Girard, president of the Syndicat des brigadiers scolaires de la Ville de Montréal, CUPE 930.

The agreement also calls for the addition of 7.5 paid professional development days and a maximum of 3 paid days in the event of a school closure. In return, the union agreed to the loosening of some provisions pertaining to sick leave and floating holidays.

Other negotiated clauses included improvements made to the status of school crossing guards on call and wage enhancements affecting medical exams and performance evaluations.

“I wish to congratulate our members, as their strong mobilization paid off. They really work hard, rain or shine, to ensure the safety of school children in Montreal, and their role has gained much more recognition,” said Diane Girard.

With more than 116,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents about 70% of all municipal employees in Quebec, a total of 32,240 members.