TERREBONNE, QC – At a general meeting on October 7, Terrebonne white-collar workers, and CUPE members, gave their bargaining committee a strong strike mandate. By a vote of 85 per cent, the employees passed a resolution providing for the use of pressure tactics, including a general strike, if deemed appropriate.
The union members have been without a contract for nearly three years. After some thirty bargaining sessions, only one key issue remains: the introduction of a new pay structure.
“Everything has been settled,” explained Louise Léger president of CUPE Local 2326. “We are close to an agreement, except for one last stumbling block. It’s a shame because our proposal on a new job classification is very reasonable and fair in relation to other municipal employees.”
The City argues that accepting the proposed new structure would be unfair to other employees. CUPE 2326 counters that, in addition to normal salary increases or salary adjustments, other groups have gained new positions, which has changed their pay structure with precisely the same result. In addition, the union recently has attempted to resolve the impasse by offering to finance much of the cost of the new structure from their own salary increases.
“If it takes a serious look at the proposal, the City Council will see that it is a strong compromise position, acceptable to all,” concluded the president.
CUPE represents about 70 per cent of all municipal employees in Quebec. In addition to the municipal sector, CUPE is present in ten other sectors in Quebec, including health and social services, education, urban and air transport, energy, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, and communications. With a total of nearly 105,000 members in Quebec, it is the largest affiliate of the FTQ.