Laval, October 19, 2021 – The negotiations between the Teamsters Union and the management of Autobus Rive-Sud, Division Ste-Julie (a subsidiary of Sogesco transport) aren’t going well. A unanimous strike vote was taken by these workers on October 4. A walkout is planned for October 25th since there have been no meetings or talks between the parties for several weeks.
The contract between the parties expired in August 2020. A dozen negotiation meetings have taken place since then.
“Strikes occur when employees feel that they are not respected,” said Teamsters Canada President François Laporte. “The workers are now sending a clear message to their employer.”
Between 1,500 and 2,000 students at the Centre de services scolaire des Patriotes would be without school transportation if a labour dispute were to break out. Several elementary and high schools would be affected, including du Moulin, Des Quatre-Vents, Arc-en-Ciel, Saint-Paul, Trinity and Durocher.
The management party wants to impose a 5-year contract with a derisory increase of 0.72% in the first year. In the following years of the contract, the employer plans to increase the salaries according to the monetary envelope paid by the Centre de services scolaire des Patriotes for salaries.
In essence, the workers would have to blindly trust their employer, which is unacceptable.
The employer is using the retention bonus of $2000 per year paid by the Legault government to recruit and retain workers in this industry as if it were a salary increase. This bonus will end in the 2024/2025 school year.
“The retention bonus is a temporary measure aimed at attracting new recruits and keeping drivers in the industry,” analyzes Jean Chartrand, President of Teamsters Local Union 106. “Our members will not be fooled and they have made this clear with the unanimous strike vote.”
The talks at Autobus Rive-Sud, Division Ste-Julie are the starting point for negotiations that will take place at 25 other school bus companies in the coming months.
The labour market has been in turmoil for some time. Workers are mobilized all over North America in factories, transportation, warehousing and retail stores among others. What is happening at Autobus Rive-Sud Division Ste-Julie is no exception and employers should take note. Otherwise, they could lose their contract with the Centre de services scolaire des Patriotes.
“Our members have supported the industry through the pandemic and have struggled under difficult conditions,” concluded President Laporte. “They are dealing with a demanding work environment and they are absolutely right to demand more. We are behind them 100%.”
The Teamsters Union represents 125,000 members in Canada. They are affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has 1.4 million members in North America.