Videotron LogoThe 214 employees of Videotron-Gatineau were locked out at 5am this morning.

“This unfortunate decision by the employer has thrown 214 families out on the street. Proud workers will have to come up with ways to make ends meet at a time of crushing inflation,” said Patrick Gloutney, President of CUPE Quebec.

This decision by Videotron management comes on the heels of a vote by employees, 74% of whom rejected the employer’s latest offer, which they determined was not good enough. Meanwhile, the union continues to believe a negotiated settlement is possible.

According to Gloutney, it is obvious a situation such as this would have been impossible had their been federal legislation prohibiting the use of replacement workers.

“During our latest visit to Ottawa, the Minister of Labour and Seniors, Seamus O’Regan, promised us that replacement workers were a thing of the past and that legislation would soon be tabled. Unfortunately, it did not come soon enough to benefit Videotron employees in Gatineau,” he added.

Federal employees are not protected by legislation banning the use of replacement workers. Years of indifference on the part of politicians on this issue have skewed the balance of power in favour of employers, which have no incentive to bargain in good faith.

Videotron-Gatineau workers have been without a contract since August 31, 2020.