Montreal thought it had signed a labor peace with its blue collar until the end of 2017, but the City feared an illegal walkout from them next week. The city asked the Labour Relations Board to issue an interim order to ensure that they will return to work on Tuesday.
The Union of blue collar grouped summoned its members to a special general meeting on December 8, at the convention center. Union members are invited to comment on their expectations in the forthcoming negotiations with the City. Union leaders expect their members specify “in large numbers to demonstrate good [their] determination.”
The city however, that the meeting represents nothing less than an “illegal work stoppage” since this meeting is planned during their normal working hours. But their agreement that matures December 31, 2017, or in more than two years, which should in theory prevent them from exercising pressure tactics.
“The City of Montreal considers that this action aims to disrupt the normal operations of the City, depriving thereby the public of all the services to which he is entitled,” reads the application by the City of Montreal this week at the CRT. The City hopes to avoid seeing the blue collar workers deserting their posts.
Tuesday’s meeting of blue collar is scheduled the day before a walkout – Legal judged this time – white-collar workers, those who have been without a contract since 2012.
In its invitation to its members, the union says it wants to set the table for an early renewal of their collective agreement. The document states that wishes to “sign a win-win partnership in 2016”, one year before the agreement in force expires.
Note that 2017 marks the 375th anniversary of Montreal. The union does not openly threatens to disrupt the celebrations, but it is mentioned that Montreal has the “audacity to seek [their] cooperation” as part of the festivities.
The tone of the invitation of the blue collar union is very bitter towards Coderre administration. Union leaders say they want to end the “litigation, injustices, inequities and irritants rotting too long [their] work environment.” It is written there that the concessions made in recent years by blue-collar workers, in addition to “the indignity of cloth imposed in 2004” – was the decision in arbitration to their working conditions – have already enabled the City save millions.
“It is extremely disappointing. It seems to want to return to the old methods that never gave anything, “responded Pierre Desrochers, president of the executive committee.
The City of Montreal was surprised to see the blue collar union from the well since the Warpath thought to have signed peace until the end of 2017. It had also cited as an example the last arrangement with blue-collar workers, they who had agreed to review the cost-sharing pension plans before the government imposes a law about it.
“We agreed on important issues, such as pension plans. We had an agreement, which has been defended in committee. Frankly, at the moment, there is no reason that justifies or authorizes a strike, “said Mr. Desrochers.
Blue-collar workers have increased their means of visibility in recent weeks. Union members were present throughout the 2016 budget design work, deploring the cuts affecting their members.
A sign of the tensions, the union has recently released a video entitled Just Watch Me, in reference to the sentence of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau that Mayor Denis Coderre has resumed this summer when he demolished a slab moves of jackhammer. Throughout the message, municipal employees repeated famously with the backstory Thunderstruck song from AC / DC.
The Union of blue collar grouped declined to respond.