At a special meeting last night, the 140 blue- and white-collar employees of the Office municipal d’habitation de Québec (OMHQ) voted overwhelmingly in favour of pressure tactics up to and including a general strike.
Negotiations between the union and the OHMQ have made little progress in spite of 14 months of talks, more than 12 in-person meetings and numerous phone calls and emails exchanged during the confinement, not to mention the presence of a mediator for 60 days.
“We made several concessions. In particular, we made changes to schedules and restrictions on leave for union business, but above all, we approved an amendment to the definition of job security. The union even agreed to temper its wage catch-up demands,” said Mario Jean, a CUPE union representative.
These concessions were made in the hope of arriving at a good settlement, which includes major issues such as schedule flexibility for white-collar workers and the introduction of a variable schedule for blue-collar workers. In spite of everything, the situation turned sour to the point that the union filed a complaint with the Tribunal administratif du travail (TAT) against the employer for interference in union affairs and bad faith bargaining. A ruling on this complaint is pending.