Sainte-Foy, Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - During a general meeting held this morning, some 200 outside workers employed by the Municipality of Sainte-Foy, members of Local 2360 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees who have been on strike since October 13, voted to return to work at 2 p.m. today until January 8. At the same time, they sent a clear message to Mayor Boucher and her administrators with an imposing vote, by secret ballot, to reject the employer’s latest proposals.
Petty Politics at the expense of Outside Workers and Citizens
“By massively rejecting what would more accurately be described as Mayor Boucher’s demands and declaring publicly that they have not been consulted on the important roll backs that the Municipality is trying to impose, our members are clearly telling the Mayor that they are fed up with having her insult their intelligence. We are telling her to stop playing her cheap politics at our expense and at the expense of the citizens of Sainte-Foy,” stated Guy McDonald, union president.
“Let’s speak frankly. In spite of her window dressing declarations, Mayor Boucher is in the race to be elected mayor for the future amalgamated City of Quebec. And in attempting to buy votes, she doesn’t hesitate to waste the funds and surpluses accumulated at our expense, to the detriment of the quality of services provided to the citizens in her own Municipality. Her sole aim is to benefit her upcoming electoral campaign,” added Mr. McDonald.
The Image of an Excessively Firm Hand at Any Cost
“During the period preceding adoption of Bill 170, passed yesterday evening, the large majority of the municipalities in the Greater Quebec area signed decent collective agreements with their respective unions. In Sainte-Foy, however, we are forced to deal with a Mayor who wants to give the image of being firmly in control at any cost. She is prepared to go as far as throwing out whole sections of a collective agreement which she actually signed herself in March 1998. No one ever held a gun at her head to make her accept the minimum employment level that, today, she has decided to chip away at through attrition,” stated Roger Gravel, union representative.
“It is difficult to understand why the Mayor believes she is the only one to be in step while the majority of the elected officials in the Greater Quebec area have taken into account the region’s economic parameters and agreements in municipalities of comparable size to their own, in order to establish agreements with their employees. We therefore ask the Mayor to publicly reveal her hidden agenda, or to keep her counsel and stop trying to make political headway at her employees’ expense,” continued Mr. Gravel.
Sympathetic to the Citizens Appeals
“In spite of the extent of the public relations campaign to denigrate our struggle, which simply involves maintaining our existing conditions, extending the status quo in our collective agreement which, among others, protects our casual workers, we have heard and sympathize with the appeal made by the citizens of Sainte-Foy as their living environment disintegrates. If Mayor Boucher does not want to take up her responsibilities in the face of this degenerating situation, we will have to do so on her behalf, which is why we have decided to return to work today,” said Guy McDonald.
“We also have confidence in the conciliator appointed in this dispute, Pierre Lefebvre, who reports regularly to the Minister of Labour on the developments, or should we say the stagnation in the bargaining. In the light of the regulations established everywhere else in the region, the Minister must be just as conscious as we are of the fact that, by refusing to bargain in good faith, even though it is only a matter of maintaining the status quo in the collective agreement, Mayor Boucher, not content to have attempted to derail the municipal merger process, now seeks to perpetuate a labour relations’ model marked by gratuitous confrontation, a model which has long been a thing of the past in the other municipalities in the region,” concluded Roger Gravel.
SOURCE: CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (QFL)
Guy McDonald: (418) 627-7737
Roger Gravel: (418) 563-5525
Louis Cauchy (514) 235-3996