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A province-wide day of action to defend the right to free collective bargaining in the Quebec municipal sector was an overwhelming success. More than 16,000 municipal workers from across the province came together in rallies in Montreal, Quebec, Baie-Comeau and Jonquiere October 11.

They came together to oppose Bills 124, 134 and 137 which strip away the right to negotiate while forcing municipal amalgamations, suspending the right to strike and to organize. But the only thing the bills have succeeded in bringing together were the municipal workers united in opposition to this attack on their rights.

Simulcast over jumbo screens in each of the four meeting sites and broadcast on CUPEs web site, Jean Lachance from Quebec, Louise Menard from Baie-Comeau and Linda Duchesne from Jonquiere sent messages of solidarity and unity to the assembled crowds of municipal workers.

Then in Montreal, watched by all, National President Judy Darcy and GVP Claude Gnreux joined Jean Lapierre, Daniel Papillon-Demers and provincial labour leaders in reinforcing the message that municipal amalgamation without the support of municipal workers was a non-starter.

Darcy and Gnreux spoke of the historic struggles of Quebec municipal workers to win their rights and the successful battle of Ontario workers to fight off Harris attack on their rights.

The huge crowds assembled at the Olympic Stadium and in assembly halls in the other centres sent a loud and clear message to the provincial government. Back down, because we wont.