White-collar workers, pool employees and school crossing guards in Terrebonne, QC have been doubly vigilant. On July 8, they held a general meeting, which was followed by a rally at a municipal council meeting. They have been concerned about the change in the town’s tone since last winter. Labour relations had been good for several years, but the employer has suddenly taken a harsher tone.

“The climate has deteriorated significantly in recent months because of a unilateral change by the employer. In the last several years, including with the current administration, we have always been able to come up with win-win solutions. We signed two collective agreements without having to resort to any pressure tactics with the Marc-André Plante administration: the white-collar contract in May 2018 and the school crossing guards contract in September 2018,” explained Chantal Riopel, the president of the Syndicat des cols blancs de Terrebonne, CUPE 2326.

“At a time of labour shortages, cutting back on employees’ working conditions across the board is not a good idea. This could prove counterproductive and result in citizens receiving services of lower quality,” according to CUPE union representative Maxime Valade.

“The town has expressed concerns about the cost and effectiveness of public services. We have always been receptive to those concerns. We have proved this several times, and we are able to discuss issues and come up with solutions. We invite the employer to tone things down and get back to collaborating with its employees,” said Maxime Valade.