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Last week, the Centre des services scolaires de Montréal (CSSDM), Quebec's largest school services center, obtained a Superior Court injunction against the union representing its teachers, the Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal (APPM). The injunction, which comes after more than a week on strike, orders the teachers to cease picketing in front of CSSDM schools. Before obtaining the injunction, the CSSDM had called in the police to force the teachers to let other employees into some schools.
The APPM responded to the injunction on December 7 with a demonstration that brought together over 5,000 teachers in front of the CSSDM offices. Union members expressed their anger at seeing their right to strike violated in this way. In a collective letter addressed to the President of the CSSDM, the teachers denounced what they described as contempt and indifference "towards the challenges teachers face on a daily basis".
At the top of the list of reasons given by the CSSDM for requesting the injunction are "the significant financial impacts estimated by the Service des ressources matérielles" caused by the delay in work in the schools. However, these "impacts" are not quantified anywhere in the injunction order.
With regard to the continuation of maintenance work, the APPM had proposed to the CSSDM that agreements be drawn up if urgent work had to be done so that workers could return to the schools. According to the APPM, this proposal remained unanswered. In the injunction order, the CSSDM even asserts that it has identified "priority" worksites where work must be maintained. However, these were not forwarded to the teachers to establish agreements before resorting to an injunction.
Your injunction shows even more your lack of consideration!A sign in a demonstration
The CSSDM and the Superior Court go to great lengths in their accusations against the strikers, blaming them for the poor condition of the schools. The injunction order states that delays in work caused by the strike could result in a "cascade of impacts" leading to emergency relocations.
Earlier this year, students and teachers from CSSDM schools had to be relocated following major damage to school buildings. At Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption elementary school, for example, a student was hit on the head by a piece of plaster from the ceiling. As a result, the class had to be relocated due to the dust generated by the falling plaster.
Among the other reasons given by the CSSDM to justify its injunction is what it describes as "damage caused to buildings by marks left by adhesive glue when removing stickers".
Construction workers were present at the APPM demonstration on December 7. They testified that they had missed a day's work in support of the striking teachers. Indeed, since the beginning of the strike, many construction workers have chosen to respect the principle of union solidarity and have refused to cross picket lines, injunction or not.
In another example of union solidarity, on December 11, the United Steelworkers donated $100,000 to the striking public service workers. "When one of us is affected, the whole Steelworker family is there to respond. Public sector workers include our sisters, daughters, mothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, children and friends. The Steelworkers are there for them," says USW Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux in a press release.
Strike in Québec's public sector
- One in ten workers soon on strike?
- 1972, the Year Workers Shook the State
- Strike mandates accumulate with overwhelming support
- An Education Reform Deaf to the Key Issues
- Québec government improvises solutions
- Privatization in the name of “efficiency”
- United front negotiations
- 100,000 workers in the street: “they’ve had enough”
- It’s Halloween for Quebec’s Public Employees, Or at Least for Some
- United Front workers determined to keep up the fight
- FAE to call unlimited strike on November 23
- A historic movement, “we’ve never seen anything like it”
- The CAQ cares about kids (or so it says)
- Government treatment fuels “our indignation and will strengthen our mobilization”
- Superior Court Violates Teachers’ Right to Strike
- “Legault and all the others are destroying Quebec as we know it”
- It’s time to reflect as United Front adopts agreement