Just in time for summer, the some 220 unionized employees working at Jean Drapeau Park signed their new collective agreement today. The latter, who are represented by the Syndicat des cols bleus regroupés de Montréal (CUPE 301), had been without a contract since January 1, 2018.
In the spring of 2019, the members had voted in favour of pressure tactics up to and including strike action. A tentative agreement was reached between the parties and ratified by 95% of the membership at a general meeting in May 2019. However, writing up the final text of the new collective agreement proved to be quite difficult.
“What was negotiated prompted the parties to acknowledge that the agreement had to be rewritten to accurately reflect the content of this agreement. This task was completed with the consent of both the employer and the union,” stated Simon St-Onge, the union director responsible for the Jean Drapeau Park membership.
“This group was greatly affected by salary disparities and precarity, conditions we feel are inconceivable in 2020. We had to push back hard to rectify this situation,” declared Éric Charlebois, who headed the bargaining committee.
“We bargained and made major gains for our membership. We went to the wall to defend a basic principle – equal pay for work of equal value. They can now continue working as proud partners of Jean Drapeau Park to ensure it’s in excellent condition for Montrealers and tourists who come out to partake in numerous activities there,” explained François Jutras-Côté and Guillaume Dupont-Croteau, union stewards who took part in negotiations.
“These negotiations allowed us to improve the working conditions of blue-collar workers at the park, and going forward, we have a pension plan and group insurance that cover everyone, regardless of their employment status. Moreover, under the terms of this new agreement, all members will be able to work a normal week and not have to deal with precarity. Finally, the agreement calls for wage hikes of more than 2% per year, retention premiums and a signing bonus,” added CUPE union representative Daniel Morin.