The Quebec coalition of municipal and transport workers, initiated by CUPE, is moving into high gear after the Bouchard government’s announcement that it will introduce legislation by January 30 allowing final offer selection to resolve bargaining in the municipal sector.
This legislation is part of the government’s ongoing attempt to reduce labour cost by up to 6%. Under the legislation, at the request of either party, an arbitrator would be named who would then choose one or the other of the parties’ final positions.
“We are going to shake up the municipalities that are refusing to negotiate while awaiting the imposition of this legislation,” said Gilles Charland, Regional Director for Quebec and spokesperson for the coalition. “The government will have to live with the consequences of its actions,” he warned, noting that the unions have a mandate to take whatever action is required - including a general strike - to stop an imposed settlement.