The labour conflict between the Université de Montréal and the 18 building systems technicians and stationary engineers who have been on strike since March 14, 2019, has just stepped up a notch, as the union received a formal notice accompanied by an employer grievance seeking $500,000 from the union last Friday.  

The formal notice stipulates that the union has been spreading lies about the university in its advertising that appeared in Le Devoir, in some metro stations and on billboards around the establishment.

The union remains adamant

In spite of the formal notice and the employer grievance, the union does not intend to retract or change anything in its message.

“The comments appearing in the union advertisements comply with the right of freedom of expression. They are not illegal, misleading, defamatory or gratuitous; and furthermore, they are acceptable within the gambit of labour relations,” explained Sylvain Chicoine, president of the maintenance employees of CUPE 1186 at the University of Montréal.

The 18 specialized employees have been without a collective agreement since April 2015. The main stumbling blocks are contracting out, the employer’s demand to sign a long-term agreement without offering salary compensation in return and the possibility of accumulating overtime in a time bank.