Further to a request it submitted on September 4 to the Minister responsible for Labour, Dominique Vien, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is pleased that a mediator has been appointed for the negotiations regarding the renewal of the collective agreement with its maintenance employees union. Minister Vien has appointed Mathieu Lebrun to accompany the parties during this new phase of the negotiations.
The STM once again stresses that it wants to reach an agreement with its maintenance employees union as soon as possible, first and foremost for the benefit of transit users. The STM is thus committed to full cooperation with the mediator, in the same spirit as during the 91 negotiation meetings held so far with the union representatives.
The 60-day mediation period prescribed by law will begin as of the initial discussions with the mediator. The STM has announced that its representatives will be fully available as of September 12, as requested.
Negotiations so far with the maintenance employees union
- Start of negotiations on April 18, 2017.
- From May 7 to 12, 2018, the maintenance employees union held an overtime strike that deprived transit users of over 500 hours of peak-period service and obliged the STM to keep 57 buses in the garage that should have been on the road.
- Given the threat of a second overtime strike, planned to begin on June 9, 2018, and the STM’s call for a mediator, the parties agreed on June 8 to step up the negotiations and give the bargaining process a final chance. In return for the STM’s promise to withdraw its request for mediation, the union agreed to cancel the announced strike.
- On July 9, 2018, the STM and the maintenance employees union set up a select committee to facilitate and speed up the negotiations.
- On August 8, 2018, the union filed a new overtime strike notice, covering the one-month period from August 18 to September 16.
- On August 15, 2018, the STM notified the MTESS that it would request a mediator as soon as legally possible, i.e., on September 4.
- On August 17, 2018, the Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ) ordered the maintenance employees union to suspend or postpone the one-month overtime strike scheduled to begin on August 18. The TAQ found that the essential services planned by the union were insufficient.
- On August 28, 2018, given union pressure tactics such as a concerted refusal of overtime, considered to constitute an unlawful strike, the STM asked the TAQ to intervene.
- On September 4, 2018, after the union took the means at its disposal to encourage its members to discontinue these tactics, the STM withdrew its request.
- On September 4, 2018, the STM requested the immediate appointment of a mediator.
Over the summer, the impact of the overtime strike held in May, combined with aspects such as pressure tactics deployed at various bus garages, meant that a record number of STM buses were out of service.
The STM had to reduce bus service by more than 1,900 hours over the first three days following Labour Day (i.e., the peak fall period), compared with 174 and 151 hours, respectively, for the corresponding periods in 2017 and 2016.