At a general union meeting Tuesday night, blue-collar and white-collar municipal employees of East Broughton, QC unanimously adopted a mandate to go ahead with pressure tactics up to and including strike action. Beforehand, they read a report on the bargaining sessions relating to their collective agreement. They have been without a contract since December 31, 2017.

Negotiations began in June 2018. Talks produced some progress on various issues, and a conciliator was appointed to the case in March. However, several substantive issues are still in dispute such as group insurance, wage increases and the refusal to grant regular status to employees who have been working continuously for years.

Beyond these discussions, the union made an urgent demand to restore a healthy working environment, which it describes as currently unhealthy, adding that it has not managed to convince the employer to come up with a joint plan to resolve the crisis.

“Several employees have made harassment allegations. We have seen reports of employees having their hours cut back for questionable reasons, numerous and unreasonable disciplinary notices and cutting-edge surveillance cameras continuously zeroed in on the workers. One citizen has been repeatedly harassing employees by following them around on the territory of the municipality, and management hasn’t seen fit to step in,” pointed out Nina Laflamme, union representative of the CUPE.

The union in this instance is CUPE 3666, which represents 16 members – 14 blue-collar and 2 white-collar workers.