CPAS BargainingCUPE signed a new collective agreement yesterday, covering close to 26,000 of its members in Quebec’s health and social services network. The three-year agreement takes effect on October 24, 2021.

This agreement, which was ratified by the membership in late June 2021, runs from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023. It includes wage increases of 2 per cent a year and includes improvements to working conditions that will make it easier to attract and retain personnel. In addition, a new wage structure will be implemented in year three of the agreement (April 2022), which will start a significant wage catch-up process for the lowest paid employees.

“We have put the final touches on landmark negotiations, which have brought about major change in the network. The Government of Quebec has begun to understand that, with the repercussions of the pandemic, it had no choice but to take extensive corrective action to address the effects of years of cutbacks and amalgamations. We were able to make considerable gains, the best in the past twenty years, thanks to the mobilization of our membership, our hard work, our innovative solutions and the support of the FTQ. However, this is only a beginning. The network is still in very bad shape, and many more corrective measures need to be taken to bring about good working conditions and to enhance the attractiveness of all positions in the network,” said Maxime Ste-Marie, president of the Conseil provincial des affaires sociales (CPAS-CUPE).

“We have already turned our attention to the next negotiations. The government will have to come up with several other fundamental and sustainable solutions to really get the network back on track. To do so, it will have to work patiently with us and listen to the needs of workers. It will have to resist the temptation to scatter resources with spectacular, improvised and costly announcements,” explained Karine Cabana, a CUPE union representative and CPAS coordinator.

In the coming days, CUPE locals in the network will be disclosing to the membership the terms surrounding the wage payments retroactive to April 1, 2020.