Montreal, Friday, December 7, 2001 – On December 11, just a few days before the union allegiance vote, when various groups of municipal employees will be called upon to choose the union that will represent them in the new City of Montreal. The Montreal Municipal Employees Union (MMEU) - (CUPE 429) hopes to represent the1,000 professional employees who will be voting.
“Whatever happens, the MMEU will be an important player in the new City of Montreal, since it represents almost 40% of all municipal employees. We are encouraging the 1,000 municipal professional employees to end their isolation and join us. This will be in everyone’s interest, including the citizens”, declared Daniel Papillon Demers, President of the Montreal Municipal Employees Union.
Unite the employees to ensure services for citizens
The MMEU believes that uniting all municipal employees will be a major step in preserving the quality of services to the citizens and the working conditions of municipal employees. “We have been saying the same thing for months: the new City of Montreal will not be set up on the backs of the municipal employees or to the detriment of services to the people. These are two sides of the same coin. The best way of avoiding this is to unite the 9,000 employees who are responsible for services”, said Mr. Papillon Demers.
The MMEU has concerned about the birth of Quebec’s largest city. Financially speaking, the budget proposed by the Transition Committee has inequities that will take 10 years to be absorbed, while the budget has been balanced by adding a $75 water tax to each household, a tax that the new mayor, Gr0061ld Tremblay, does not want. The political situation is just as confusing, with an Executive Committee of 12 members, including seven from the suburbs. In such a complex environment, the President of the Montreal Municipal Employees Union fears that the new administration, which made many promises, will be tempted to solve its problems by cutting back on working conditions for the municipal employees, thus cutting back on services to the people.
The best of both worlds for the professional employees
The proposed amalgamation of all municipal employees in the MMEU would ensure protection and respect for the professional employees group. If they join with the MMEU, they will have their own collective agreement, their own bargaining committee, and their own general meeting of members. By choosing to be represented by the MMEU, the professionals would retain their autonomy, while sharing in the alliances of the MMEU, with CUPE and the QFL. It would thus join powerful allies in the fight to defend the common interests of all municipal employees, i.e. preserving working conditions and the quality of services to the people.
The union allegiance vote on December 11 is the first step in a process that should lead, on May 1, 2002, to the harmonization of the collective agreements in the municipalities making up the new City of Montreal.
“I would like to assure Mr. Tremblay that we are determined to work for the success of the new City of Montreal. He will have our complete cooperation as long as his interests coincide with the interests of our members and of the citizens”, concluded the president of the Montreal Municipal Employees Union.
SOURCE: Montreal Municipal Employees Union (CUPE 429)