Collective bargaining is deadlocked at the Quebec Scientific Information Network (Réseau d’informations scientifiques du Québec or RISQ). At a general meeting, 64% of RISQ unionized employees rejected the employer’s offers, although characterized as “final”.
The main points in dispute between the RISQ and its union members concern recognition of senior employees, too many salary levels, overtime, and work/ family/personal life. It should be noted that the two parties quickly reached an agreement on the non-monetary issues, after only three meetings.
Monetary offers more than disappointing
Mario Lamontagne, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) adviser and union negotiator explained,”We have done everything possible to find a middle ground acceptable to both parties. The monetary offers were so insulting that we could have walked away from the negotiating table as early as June. But as we were told repeatedly that these were final offers, we submitted them to the members, and you know the outcome.”
In addition, he noted, “At the very first negotiation meeting, the employer stated that staff retention was one of their objectives, but that topic was never back on the table.”
The RISQ employees’ collective agreement expired in May 2012. Renewal negotiations began in March.
The rejection of the employer’s latest offer by members of CUPE Local 4633 took place after 11 negotiation sessions.
The RISQ serves Quebec universities, colleges and CEGEPs, research centers, laboratories, school boards, ministries and government agencies, university hospitals, and content providers. Its mission is to develop, operate and maintain a telecommunications network that provides Internet bandwidth dedicated to the research, education and training needs of its members and to meet their needs for telecommunications access and services, including the Internet.
With more than 110,000 members in Quebec, CUPE is present in 10 sectors, including social services, communications, education, energy, municipalities, Quebec government corporations and public agencies, urban and air transport, the mixed sector, and universities.
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