Sherbrooke, Tuesday, August 2, 2011 – The representatives of the Sherbrooke blue-collar union today expressed their satisfaction with the Superior Court decision to deny the City’s motion to stay. This request would have suspended the application for the strike launched Saturday night, pending a decision on its merits. In concrete terms, this means that the blue collars may continue to strike while providing many essential services and minimizing the inconvenience to the public. The blue-collar union views this as the failure, for now, of the City’s attempt to provoke a labour dispute that would provide fewer essential services and more disadvantages to the citizens.
“We are very pleased with today’s decision. Now we can continue to strike in a way that will cause the least inconvenience to our fellow citizens. The strategy of the municipal leaders is shameful: to improve their balance of power, they have tried to shape the strike into a form that would make it as inconvenient as possible. Instead of throwing oil on the fire and spending so lavishly on security guards and legal remedies, the City should make the minor effort required to reach an agreement with us,” said Mario Fontaine, vice-president of the Sherbrooke blue-collar union (CUPE 2729).
The approximately 450 Sherbrooke blue-collar workers have been without a contract since December 31, 2007. They had not gone on strike since the late 1970s, with the exception of two hours in 2005 and, more recently, 13 days from December 26, 2010 to January 7, 2011. In the spring of 2010, the blue-collar workers voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate, to be launched at the appropriate time.
The Sherbrooke blue-collar workers are members of Local 2729 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). They work on the City’s roads, aqueducts and sewers, garbage collection, maintenance and signage, and in recreation centres, parks and ecocentres. They also include engineers, building engineers, arboriculturists, horticulturists, etc.