Inside and outside municipal workers in Saint-Charles-Borromée in the Lanaudière region have not had a collective agreement since the last one expired on December 31, 2020.  Negotiations have reached an impasse, with wage increases the main stumbling block.

At a general membership meeting on May 26, the members of CUPE 4367 which represents the municipal workers rejected a tentative agreement because they felt the wage increases were insufficient. A portion of the proposed wage hikes were in the form of a lump sum payment with no permanent raise, which in particular, was deemed problematic.

At that same meeting, the members voted 97% in favour of pressure tactics up to and including a strike.

At another general membership meeting on July 5, members voted on and rejected a second tentative agreement, because the wage offer was insufficient.

CUPE 4367 pointed out that, aside from the wage issue, the employer tends to undervalue their work force and not show them any recognition.

“The town has expanded significantly in the past 20 years, but despite this, we still have the same number of employees on road services. At present, several positions have not been filled, and turnover has been excessive. These conditions are not conductive to providing good service to the public at a time of labour shortages. There’s ground to be made up,” explained Alain Neveu, vice-president of CUPE 4367, which represents about fifty inside and outside workers.

“We got through the pandemic and were referred to as essential workers, which we are proud of. But now, the town, whose finances are in excellent shape, has a duty to negotiate fair wage increases, especially at a time of high inflation,” added Neveu.

Since the general meeting back on July 5, the union decided to give negotiations another chance, but if talks fail, they will resort to pressure tactics.