The 35 municipal workers in Sainte-Sophie will be going out on strike on Thursday, February 20. They voted in favour of pressure tactics up to and including strike action in late January. Two items are standing in the way of a settlement for a new collective agreement: though wage increases have been agreed to, inflation protection is insufficient, and schedules are not flexible enough to allow for greater life-work balance.

“There is enough ground to reach an agreement, but management does not want to budge. The employer seems intent on taking a hard line at a time when we are so close to a settlement on a five-year agreement. Employees are mobilized and have shown they are serious. This time, it’s a one-day strike. The next time, it’ll be definitely longer. The union is hoping to settle,” explained CUPE union representative Roger Bazinet.

The compensation of Sainte-Sophie employees ranks among the least competitive in the municipal sector of municipalities of similar size. For example, the union is claiming that for 2019, they are only at about one-third of one percent (0.32%) from the targeted salaries. Moreover, the union’s demands regarding members’ schedules have been very modest.

“Modernized schedules would have no effect on services provided to citizens,” said Bazinet.

Employees have been without a collective agreement since December 2018.