Mega-demonstration for Montreal's blue-collar workers

MONTREAL, Oct. 7 /CNW Telbec/ - "Montreal's blue-collar workers want this city to function properly, they want to improve municipal services, and they want to be respected. Their demands are legitimate and we stand behind them. They can count on the support of our 600,000 members across the country," chanted Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), at noon today. The union leader was addressing thousands of demonstrators gathered outside City Hall. For this tremendous show of solidarity, the striking blue-collar workers were joined by more than 2,000 CUPE delegates, assembled this week for their National Convention in Montreal.

Working without a contract for over two years, the union representing 5,000 blue-collar workers wants to negotiate an agreement that protects public services, limits contracting out, gives regular status to a number of employees, and provides wage increases in line with market wages. "We are aware of the precarious economic conditions," acknowledges Lucie Levasseur. "But how can you explain that we have managed to negotiate wage increases in Montreal East, Dorval, Kirkland, Côte St. Luc, Westmount, Longueuil, Quebec City, Saint John and Sept-Îles, but not in Montreal? Is Montreal the only city affected by the recession? It is time for Mayor Tremblay to be reasonable and negotiate like everyone else."

Pointing to the recently exposed scandals, all tied to external contracts or privatization, the blue-collar workers vaunt the superiority of municipal public services. "We can do the job, we want to do it, and we definitely can do it for less. The taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth, because the Tremblay administration keeps spending more by contracting out to private firms," chanted union president Michel Parent.

In this round of negotiations, the blue-collar workers are not only seeking improvements to their own working conditions, but also are offering solutions for organizing work in order to provide better services to the people of Montreal. To make their objectives known and understood, they have even mailed a leaflet explaining their proposals to every household in the city. To view this document, go to and click on the relevant news item.

CUPE represents approximately 70% of all municipal employees in Quebec. In addition to the municipal sector, CUPE is present in 10 other sectors in Quebec, including health and social services, education, urban and air transport, energy, Quebec Crown Corporations and public agencies, and communications. With a total of nearly 105,000 members in Quebec, it is the largest affiliate of the FTQ.

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SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (FTQ)

For further information: For further information: Alexandre Boulerice, (514) 384-9681, ext. 270, cell: (514) 668-7148; SOURCE: CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (FTQ)

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