Striking museum workers occupy Lawrence Cannon's office

BUCKINGHAM, QC, Nov. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Striking workers from the Museum of Civilization and War Museum are occupying Lawrence Cannon's office in Buckingham, Quebec, demanding that the Outaouais-area MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade use his clout as a member of cabinet to help put an end to their seven-week strike.

They are asking Cannon and the Canadian government to tell the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation to return to the bargaining table and grant them a fair contract. Their key demands are job security, protections against the subcontracting of their jobs and an end to perpetual contract status. The workers are seeking the same terms and conditions as other employees doing the same work at other federally-funded museums and cultural institutions.

Employees at the two museums have been on strike since September 21, 2009. The 420 workers voted 92 per cent in favour of a strike at the end of August and talks first hit a standstill on September 18. Negotiations resumed briefly on October 7, but broke off after the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation refused to agree to protections against the contracting out of the workers' jobs.

"The Canadian Museum of Civilization and War Museum - arguably two of the most prestigious cultural institutions in Canada - have been using workers from U.S. and international firms to replace the museum professionals that are on strike," said Maria Fitzpatrick, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region. "They have also been hiring private security firms to harass the workers while they engage in a lawful strike. It's shameful that Canadians' tax dollars are best spent in this manner, rather than resolving the strike and allowing the museum workers to return to their jobs."

Daniel Poulin, a guide at the Museum of Civilization and the President of PSAC Local 70396, agrees.

"Workers at federally-funded arts institutions should be afforded the same rights and working conditions. Why is a Crown Corporation such as the Museum of Civilization Corporation able to pay its workers less and offer them no job security as compared to other institutions such as National Arts Centre and the Museum of Science and Technology? The Canadian government needs to intervene immediately and tell the museums to give their workers a fair contract," he said.

The workers say they will continue to occupy Cannon's office until they secure a guarantee from him that he will speak out on their behalf.

SOURCE PSAC

For further information: For further information: or to book interviews: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications, (613) 292-8363


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