Police officers in Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam, QC, are seeking a fair and equitable salary commensurate with their profession. For the past several years, they have been demanding compensation that is comparable to other Indigenous communities’ police service standards. However, the band council has been hiding behind the tripartite agreement that it negotiates with the federal and provincial governments.

“In short, we’re being asked to provide police service in the community but at discount. In several other Indigenous communities, the importance of the police force is not only recognized but it is also delivered along with fair and equitable wage conditions worthy of the profession,” explained CUPE 5147 president Pascal Bérubé.

Members of the force have been seeking to catch up in wages since the group was organized in 2013. The employer seems to be somewhat understanding but has asked the police officers to be understanding and wait, given the lack of funding in the budget. The last collective agreement expired in July 2018.

“The community deserves better. At times, the employer tells us that the tripartite agreement has not yet been renewed, and at other times, the tripartite agreement has not been increased enough. Only two parties appear in the union certification obtained in 2013 – the Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam band council and the union. The police officers therefore believe that the band council must assume its responsibilities and pay out the average salary that their police counterparts in Indigenous communities receive,” said CUPE representative Charlaine Sirois.