VOL. 1 No. 1 | MAY 28, 2021


Update on contract talks
- Sectoral matters
- Intersectoral matters

Everything you need to know about the strike on June 7, 8, 21 and 22
- Financial compensation during the strike: who gets it, and how?
- Strike schedules

Update on contract talks

Although we’ve made the case over and over again that our demands at the bargaining table are justified and relevant, the Legault government is still refusing to take measures that would address problems of work overload and help attract employees.

On May 2, Premier Legault and Sonia LeBel, the president of the Treasury Board, invited the APTS and other union organizations to a meeting to discuss the current state of public sector contract talks. Having rejected the third set of government offers tabled on March 31, we were hoping for new and better offers.

However, we soon realized that this was just one more PR operation to make Quebecers believe that the government's pay offers are generous.

At this meeting, the premier called for ramped-up negotiations in order to reach a settlement within two or three weeks. That didn’t happen, since government representatives at the bargaining table were never given the mandates they would have needed to reach an agreement. The APTS showed that it was willing to negotiate, but it was glaringly obvious that the government hadn’t budged.

Advances were minimal and bore no relation to the major issues in current contract talks.


Sectoral matters

Sectoral matters are those that are specific to the APTS.

The findings of the special commission on children’s rights and youth protection (CSDEPJ), chaired by Régine Laurent, were published on May 3. The APTS welcomed the report, which contained multiple “recommendActions” aligned with our demands regarding youth protection workers.

But despite the clarity of the Laurent Commission’s findings, the Legault government is not bringing any substantive measure to the bargaining table to halt the exodus of youth protection workers. It even has the gall to claim that the offers tabled on March 31 – a premium equivalent to 1.5% of salary and another temporary 2% premium, neither of which can be combined with existing premiums – constitute a full response to the needs identified in the Laurent Commission report.

Meanwhile, there are issues that government representatives at the bargaining table are still refusing to address in depth. These include the recognition that APTS members are entitled to COVID premiums; the compensation given to lawyers; and the unique situation experienced by APTS members working in residences with continuous assistance (RACs) or living units in rehabilitation centres for clients with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder (CRDI-TSAs).

For other APTS priorities such as work overload, compensation for psychologists, and training and development, government offers are still woefully inadequate in terms of what would be needed to reach an agreement in principle. And the government is also maintaining a number of demands that would actually make your working conditions worse.


Intersectoral matters

Intersectoral matters cover four issues: pay, pension plan, parental rights, and regional disparities. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been bringing these issues up at the bargaining table in hopes of making progress, but the government has maintained its hardline approach. Legault and LeBel continue to offer a 5% pay increase over 3 years (with the possibility of an additional 1%, but this will only apply if public finances are restored to health and inflation is higher than 5%). They’re also offering a 3% lump sum that will disappear in 2022 and will not improve salary scales in the long term.

As for regional disparities, we think it’s crucially important to deal with the labour shortage, which is especially acute in areas that are far from major urban centres. Unfortunately, the government is still refusing to consider any solution. Discussions about parental rights and the pension plan are stalled in exactly the same way.

So despite the tireless efforts of the APTS bargaining team, we now see that arguing is not enough. Our demands are completely justified; we’ve presented them and made our case; and the Legault government is still ignoring them. In this context, APTS members are the ones who will make a difference by mobilizing.

Strike action is necessary to end the work overload that is crushing you, to stop the chronic undervaluing of traditionally female professions, and to defend quality public services for all Quebecers.

Everything you need to know about the strike on June 7, 8, 21 and 22

At special general assemblies held from late March to early May, the APTS asked you for a mandate to go on strike for a maximum of 10 days. Your response was clear: 92.4% voted in favour of the strike mandate. On May 19 and 20, the General Council decided to use the mandate on June 7, 8, 21 and 22. There will be an APTS general strike on those days, meaning that throughout Québec, APTS members will stop working for a period that will vary according to assignment and institution.


Financial compensation: who gets it, and how?

In the health and social services system, strike action is subject to agreements ensuring that essential services are maintained. The law has changed in this regard since the last time APTS members exercised their right to strike. The union is now required to reach an agreement with all of the institutions in which its members are employed; this agreement identifies the services that have to be maintained in order to guarantee the health and safety of Quebecers throughout the strike.

Depending on your assignment and the institution for which you work, between 50% and 100% of services will be maintained throughout the strike. This means that those of you who go on strike will stop working for a period varying between 10% and 50% of your shift.

To avoid financial impacts that would have a disproportionate effect on some of you, the APTS General Council has decided to provide financial compensation for up to 80% of the salary you lose because of strike action. This means that you’ll be eligible for compensation if you go on strike for more than 20% of your regular work schedule. There will also be compensation for partial loss of COVID rising scale premiums and psychologists’ retention premiums due to the strike.

To receive compensation, you must participate in the various activities organized by local executives (demonstrations, picket lines, and other mobilization activities). Your local APTS team can tell you how to sign up for compensation.

We encourage you to join in mobilization activities while you’re on strike. Sheer numbers are the best way for us to demonstrate that our claims are legitimate!

After the strike, the APTS will compile all the information and send you the amount to which you’re entitled.

A large-scale strike such as this one, with constraints related to essential services, is highly demanding in terms of logistics. Delays and problems may occur, which is why we’re asking for your understanding and cooperation. If you run in to a problem affecting your compensation payment, don’t hesitate to contact your local APTS team.



Strike schedules

The other major challenge currently being handled by your local APTS team is to produce the schedules that will enable you to exercise your right to strike.

Once a strike notice has been sent, the employer has to provide the APTS with information within a time frame that will allow the union to make its members’ strike schedules known 48 hours before the strike begins.

Since the strike will start at 12:01 a.m. on June 7, this means that strike schedules must be sent to the employer no later than 12:01 a.m. on June 5. We hope to be able to send you your schedule no later than June 4, before the weekend preceding the two first days of strike action. Keep an eye on your emails during the week of May 31.

The same scenario will be played out for the strike days on June 21 and 22, if we reach that point. We continue to hope for a negotiated settlement with the government.

In some institutions, we don’t expect employers to collaborate fully, given their current behaviour. They’ll probably try to find ways of justifying the fact that they won’t send the information needed to establish strike schedules in time, or they’ll claim that there are specific circumstances that should prevent the strike. Your local teams will keep you informed of developments.

We’re preparing an FAQ section that you’ll be able to consult on the negoapts.com website, and we’ll communicate with you again as need be between now and June 7. Until then, you can show your support for the strike by adding this frame to your Facebook profile picture.