Monday, August 31, 2009

After two years without a contract blue collar employees of the city of Montréal have staged a one day walkout today. Like other civic employees across the country the Montréal workers are facing increasingly intransigent city management. Here`s the story from the Montréal CTV outlet.
Montreal blue-collars staging one-day strike:
Montreal's blue-collar workers walked off the job at midnight for a 24-hour strike.
The 5,000 workers have not had a contract since August 2007. The main issues are salaries and subcontracting.

Union president Michel Parent says they have been waiting for the city to make its latest offer since last June.

The city says it will wait until the union makes all its demands before making a counter-offer.
Monday's one-day strike will affect garbage and recycling collection, road repair, and other construction projects, although a skeleton crew will be on call in case urgent repairs are needed for sewers or roads.

Employees will return to work, and resume their normal duties, at the stroke of midnight on Monday night.

The majority of boroughs won't be affected by the strike because the garbage collection and recycling pickup will be carried out by private contractors as usual.

However, services will be affected in the following boroughs:
*Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Plateau-Mont-Royal Southwest: recycling will be picked up on Sept. 7
*Villeray-Saint-Michel-Park-Extension: recycling will be picked up on Sept. 1
*Cote-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie: garbage collection will be delayed until Sept. 2
*Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Rivière-des-Praires-Pointe-aux-Trembles: garbage will not be collected on Aug. 31, and residents should put out garbage later in the week, for the usual second pickup
For more details, check out the city of Montreal's official, French-only notice.
The Montréal workers in question are represented by Local 301 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Here is the way that CUPE describes the situation.
Montreal "cols bleus" on 24-hour strike:
Montreal's blue collar city workers, members of CUPE 301, have laid down their tools for a 24-hour strike. They are not launching a full-scale strike, and do not want the people of Montreal to have to pay for failed negotiations - and are making sure that all essential services continue to be provided.
However, two years of negotiations have failed to reach a settlement. And over those years, while the number of workers on the Island of Montreal have been decreasing, the number of layers of management and organizational structures has exploded - resulting in poor coordination of services, disorganization, and poorer public services.
This round of negotiations provides an opportunity to improve Montreal's infrastructure by committing strongly to quality public services, rather than allowing those services to be sold off piecemeal to the private sector.
This short work stoppage is a warning cry, drawing attention to the failure of elected officials to take their responsibility to the City of Montreal seriously.

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