At a general meeting of the union on Friday afternoon, the support staff of the École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS) voted 88% in favour of pressure tactics up to an unlimited general strike. These 500 employees have been without a collective agreement for nearly two years, since March 31, 2016.
Despite a number of bargaining sessions since spring 2016, there is still a stalemate regarding employer wage offers, deemed totally inadequate by the union.
In addition, the employees are calling for a more equitable staffing process. They also want flexible scheduling measures that would facilitate their work-life balance without harming service to students or the smooth running of the institution.
The employers, on the other hand, are asking for significant concessions in the phased retirement provisions already covered in the collective agreement, as well as cuts to the benefits granted to workers in relation to the summer schedule.
“As we have seen today, the ÉTS support staff are committed to negotiating decent wage increases and modernizing their collective agreement. We do not want to turn back the clock on “network clauses”, which are common to the entire Université de Québec network and have been in place for decades,” said Chantal Bourgeois, CUPE union representative.
The ÉTS Employees Union (SEÉTS) represents nearly 500 members in the trades and services, office, technical and professional groups. It has a CUPE charter and is known as Local 3187.