The union's intransigence is the sole reason and leaves no alternative - The fête des Neiges is cancelled because it is impossible to ensure a safe atmosphere



    "From the union's point of view, negotiating means fully accepting
    its demands. This is a futile and irresponsible attitude."

    MONTREAL, Jan. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) is
disappointed to confirm that it is regretfully cancelling the Fête des Neiges,
scheduled for next January 26 to February 11. As of noon today, the SPJD had
received no response from the Syndicat des cols bleus regroupés de Montréal
(SCFP, local 301) to its request to cooperate to save the event. Given the
time required for preparations and putting the different sites in place, for
the mobilization of the numerous partners, stakeholders and volunteers, as
well as the major investment in human and financial resources, the SPJD, as a
responsible manager, could not undertake the final stages of organizing the
event with the certainty that the safety of participants, including many
children, could be guaranteed.
    "We are saddened and disappointed for Montreal families who once again
are being held hostage by the blue collar union, which has reiterated its
strike threats several times since November 26. While saying it is open to
negotiations, the union refuses to modify its position and remains deaf to our
requests, despite our attempts at organizing a meeting last week. From the
union's point of view, negotiating means fully accepting its demands. This is
a futile and irresponsible attitude," said Kevin Donnelly, spokesperson for
the SPJD.
    The participation of about 130 blue collar workers is required to ensure
the staging and hosting of the Fêtes des Neiges. With only 20 managers, many
of whom are already working full-time on the event's organization, the SPJD
cannot make up for the additional work caused by the blue collar workers'
absence.
    Moreover, the SPJD totally refutes the union's allegations that the
weather conditions and possible cancellation of sponsorships are the true
causes of the event's cancellation. "This is a figment of the union's
imagination. Over the last 25 years, the Fête des Neiges has occasionally had
to face considerable issues related to the vagaries of the weather. With the
cooperation of the members of our team and those of our partners, we have
always been able to organize the event so that Montreal families and school
groups can safely participate in fun and festive activities. It is only
because of the blue collar union's intransigence that we can't hold the
26th Fête des Neiges," said Mr. Donnelly.
    The impasse in negotiations is due to the union's position regarding
unrealistic demands. It is notably asking for a close to 120% increase in the
number of permanent positions, from 21 to 46. In total, the union's demands
represent a greater than 30% increase in the payroll, which is far higher than
for comparable tourism and recreation facilities. No consideration has been
given to the organization's ability to pay. The union is putting the SPJD's
fiscal balance at risk.

    Société du parc Jean-Drapeau has a mandate to manage and develop
Jean Drapeau park, maintain relations with partners, conserve, protect and
develop green and blue spaces, and maintain and preserve buildings, equipment
and public works of art. SPJD is managed by a seven-member board of directors
representing primarily the business community.




For further information:

For further information: Kevin Donnelly, Director, communications and
marketing, (514) 872-6368, (514) 238-1432 - cell for media,
kdonnelly@parcjeandrapeau.com


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