Last night, close to 150 school crossing guards employed by the city attended a general meeting and voted 99% in favour of a joint union-management proposal to substantially improve their working conditions, even though the renewal of the collective agreement is not scheduled until the end of next year.

“The union would like to salute the initiative taken by the employer, which, rather than declare that it’s powerless in dealing with the labour shortage as many others are doing, is actively seeking solutions to minimize the impact on citizens, especially children,” said CUPE union representative Nina Laflamme.

The city is grappling with serious difficulties attracting and retaining personnel. In fact, the acute lack of school crossing guards recently reached the point where the parties had to call in blue-collar workers to serve as guards at certain intersections in the city.

The main measure involves increasing paid working hours, thereby boosting the employees’ pay. The employer, meanwhile, achieved a major gain, since it can now force a school crossing guard to move to a more hazardous crossing than the one they normally work if the employer cannot come up with a replacement.