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After ten hard months on the picket line, there’s a settlement at Vido0074ron. Members of CUPE 2815 and 1417 ratified the agreement in well-attended meetings March 26.

The perseverance of the strikers forced Vido0074ron’s owner, the powerful Quebecor, to back down on its plan to sell off 650 technician jobs to Entourage Solutions. As well, Videotron has cancelled the transfer of its Montreal call centre to St. Hubert, a move that would have made it difficult for many of the workers, most of them women, to keep their jobs.

“We played all our cards and our determination paid off,” said Yves Lalonde, president of CUPE 2815, which represents nearly 1,800 workers in western Quebec.

Given the bitter nature of the dispute, the settlement did not come without a price.

Workers accepted a wage freeze for the first three years of a five-year deal, with raises of 2.5 per cent in 2005 and 2006. As well, workers will work slightly longer hours each week for the same pay. And up to 270 of the 2,200 jobs will be eliminated over time through voluntary retirements, buyouts with up to 18 months of severance pay and attrition.

The Vido0074ron strike/lockout has been a huge battle in Quebec, drawing daily media attention and strong support from the labour movement. But after ten months on strike pay, CUPE members are anxious to return to work and full pay.

They do so knowing they won a battle they were told couldn’t be won – reversing the outsourcing of the technicians’ jobs and defending their job security language.