Last-ditch conciliation in security guards' negotiations - Indefinite General Strike a Possibility

    MONTREAL, March 10 /CNW Telbec/ - After the 10,000 security guards voted
in an unprecedented move to reject the latest management offers on February 12
this year, a last-ditch meeting was held with a conciliator on February 29 -
to no avail. "The Association provinciale des agences de sécurité (APAS) has
let slip an ideal opportunity to show that it understands our security guards
needs. Let's restate the facts: Since September 11, 2001, the work done by
security guards has changed considerably: new work processes, new technology,
new training programs, a new set of responsibilities. The APAS has to make an
extra effort," declared Robert Bernier, USW (FTQ) coordinator in the Montreal
area and spokesperson for the Union negotiations committee.
    Today marks the start of a series of 28 meetings that will be held by the
USW/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ) and Amalgamated Local 8922 in all regions of
Quebec. "Our members' vote to reject the last offers made was historic. We
invite them to come out in full force and attend these general meetings. They
will be asked to choose either acceptance of the employers' new proposal or
the start of pressure tactics. The time has come for them to accept the
proposal or take action," continued Michel Courcy, union staffer.
    The issues at stake in this negotiation involve both salaries and
evening, night and weekend shift premiums, as well as an increase or expansion
of the applicability of other existing premiums. "The last offer made no
mention of these premiums. For example, our members are asking that the
premiums paid to security guards assigned to a hospital's psychiatric wing
also be approved for other agents working in the hospital. Thanks to
deinstitutionalization, our members find themselves in hospital emergency
wards performing duties that would normally be a psychiatric-wing
responsibility. The reality of the job has changed. Why are employers refusing
to acknowledge this? Especially since the industry is experiencing tremendous
expansion," concluded Michel Courcy.
    The average hourly rate of pay is $13.64.

For further information:

For further information: Robert Bernier, USW/Syndicat des Métallos
(FTQ), (514) 599-2001; Michel Courcy, USW/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ), (514)

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