The STM provides an update on the impact of the maintenance union’s pressure tactics and the negotiations

Press release

Beginning of mediation - The STM is fully committed to cooperate regarding the renewal of the collective agreement with the maintenance employees union representatives. The STM wants to reach an agreement as soon as possible, first and foremost for the benefit of transit users.

Montréal, September 13, 2018 – Following the first meeting held on September 12 with the mediator appointed by the Ministre du Travail, the STM once again stresses its commitment to full cooperation regarding the renewal of the collective agreement with the maintenance employees union representatives, in the same spirit as during the 91 negotiation meetings held so far.

The STM wants to reach an agreement as soon as possible, first and foremost for the benefit of transit users.

One of the issues of the current negotiation is the request for the STM to reduce overtime. It is a wish shared by the union. This would mean creating new positions and shifts to meet the operational and organizational needs of providing the STM’s 24/7 service to the population, which would require major changes to the collective agreement.

Summary of peak fall weeks

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.

For the 2018 peak fall period, the STM is missing 125 buses on average during rush hours to provide service, in addition to vehicles already slotted to stay in bus garages for planned and scheduled maintenance and repairs. All of this has raised the current rate of out-of-service vehicles to 27%.

Due to the current labour conflict, more than 4,320 hours of bus service, for all reasons combined, have not been offered since September 3, compared to 267 hours in 2017 and 343 hours in 2016 for the same period. The impact is very real, and transit users feel it. The volume of complaints and comments on the bus system is up by more than 150% compared to the same period last year.

Chronology of negotiations so far with the maintenance employees union

  • A first meeting was held with mediator Mathieu Lebrun on September 12, following the STM’s official request for mediation on September 4.
  • Faced with union pressure tactics such as a concerted refusal of overtime and the reduced pace of work, on August 28, 2018, the STM asked the Tribunal administratif du travail to intervene on the grounds of an illegal strike. 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 August 8, 2018, the union filed a new overtime strike notice, covering the one-month period from August 18 to September 16. On August 17, 2018, the Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ) ordered the union to suspend or postpone the strike. The TAQ found that the essential services planned by the union were insufficient.
  • On July 9, 2018, the STM and the maintenance employees union set up a select committee to facilitate and speed up the negotiations.
  • 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.
  • From May 7 to 12, 2018, the maintenance employees union held an overtime strike that deprived transit users of over 500 hours of rush-hour service and obliged the STM to keep 57 additional buses in the garage that should have been on the road.
  • Start of negotiations on April 18, 2017.

The STM reached an agreement with the Syndicat du personnel administratif, technique et professionnel du transport en commun (administrative, technical and professional employees union), which signed a new collective agreement last May. Furthermore, negotiations are continuing with the drivers and operators group and with the professionals group.