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September 27, 2018

Workers Speak Out During
Quebec Election Campaign

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The Dignity of Labour - Editorial, Chantier politique
The Role of Citizens in this Election - A Montreal Construction Worker
It's Up to Us to Become the Decision-Makers - Claude Moreau,
Maintenance Mechanic, Saint-François-d'Assise Hospital, Quebec City

Defend Our Public Services and Keep Them In-House - Robin Côté, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2541 (Alma)
Stop the Cuts, Invest in Health Care and Improve Working Conditions to Keep
and Attract Personnel
- Félix-Olivier Bonneville, Vice-President, Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux (FSSS-CSN)
Support Outaouais Nurses, Auxiliary Nurses and Respiratory Therapists
- Petition, Outaouais Health Care Professionals Union (FIQ-SPSO)



Workers Speak Out During Quebec Election Campaign

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In this election, there is wall of silence on the issue of the dignity of labour. This takes place through the dissemination of disinformation by parties said to be able to win the election, which take as gospel that private monopolies and oligopolies are the creators of the social wealth, that immigration is the cause of job shortages, etc. In their view, governments must place all of society's resources, including its human resources of which the working class is a part, at the disposal of these big private interests. This is presented as a truism that cannot be challenged.

It follows from such fraudulent logic that workers who defend their rights must be criminalized by the state because they hinder the ability of these big private interests to grab all of society's wealth for themselves. The veneer of elections fails to conceal the continual threat and dictate exerted against workers, which erupts with force as soon as the electoral circus is over. Recent laws, in particular those passed against construction workers and municipal employees, amply demonstrate this.

However the truth we cannot afford to hide is that workers tirelessly defend the dignity of labour. One aspect of upholding this truth is to recognize the election disinformation that claims that those elected represent us. Workers must speak on their own behalf to affirm that as the producers of all the goods and services they have rights which must be recognized and guaranteed and that all criminalization of their struggles must end.

Let's work together to develop public opinion in support of the dignity of labour and in defence of all those whose rights and dignity are being violated. Let's begin by ensuring that this election does not result in our being saddled with a majority government.

Chantier politique is the online newspaper of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ).

(September 24, 2018)

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The Role of Citizens in this Election

As workers we must ask ourselves the question: What is our role in this political system that is increasingly devoid of all social content and, more specifically, of our active participation?

It is Quebec workers who, day-in and day-out, make Quebec function. Whether it be health care, services, administration, manufacturing, construction, education, transportation or culture, we are the driving force that ensures the functioning of the society.

When it comes to big private interests, the governments in their service need us to run society to serve their empire. However, they organize to block the workers from ourselves becoming the decision-makers. Our only role during the election is to vote, period.

Can we shed the role of spectator and become active players in the political process in the interests of society?

That is the most important question to keep in mind when we intervene in this election.

Let's ensure that no majority government takes control on October 1.

(September 25, 2018)

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It's Up to Us to Become the Decision-Makers

Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) candidate Claude Moreau was one of the speakers at the September 22 rally on air quality held in the Lower Town of Quebec City. After greeting everyone, in particular those who had organized the event, Claude highlighted the fact that this issue of the air quality in Lower Town amply shows that it is the working people who should be making the decisions which affect their lives. Claude said:

The health of the inhabitants of Quebec City's Lower Town is constantly threatened by the poor quality of the air. Prevailing winds have always maintained the pollution just above Lower Town. That pollution is mainly the result of industrial activity such as at the White Birch Paper Mill, the incinerator, dust particles from Quebec City's Old Port and transportation (not only exhaust gas but also carbon particles from tire wear), as highways either end in or just above Lower Town. Recently, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed 14 people in Lower Town. The epidemic was the result of poor maintenance of water cooling towers, the delay in response time of public health and other authorities and the non-application of recommendations following the first outbreak in the '90s.

When I was a student, I would return from Dominion [formerly the Dominion Corset Building, that was turned into a school] and my lungs would be burning. This was because of the sulphur dioxide emitted from the pulp and paper mill. When in contact with humidity in the air it transforms into sulphuric acid. Following the opening of the incinerator in 1974, clothes lines were covered in soot. I was an active participant in the struggle that lasted for years, to decontaminate the hospital and the air.

In this regard, the struggle that brings us here has been ongoing for years and must carry on. There should be no illusions regarding the announcement that the incinerator will be closed. At this very moment there are plans to supply power to the new hospital being built with steam from the incinerator. The plan is not to close it. Far from it! My daughter worked on biomethanization for Quebec City and was very surprised: zero progress. We cannot leave such issues in the hands of those who claim to be the decision-makers and developers. We need to sort out how to humanize the natural and social environment, which is our living environment. Already, by holding this demonstration, we are refusing to allow this issue to be excluded from what are called election issues. It's very important to continue the struggle, to not give up. It's up to us to become the decision-makers.

Claude Moreau has worked for 45 years at the Saint-François-d'Assise Hospital as a maintenance mechanic, and is a long-time resident of Quebec City's Lower Town, having gone to school there and raised his family there. He is the PMLQ candidate in Jean-Lesage.

(Chantier politique, September 25, 2018)

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Defend Our Public Services and
Keep Them In-House

The big problem we have in the municipal sector, both in Alma as well as elsewhere in Quebec, is with work being outsourced. This results in jobs being taken away from our own workers, whether permanent, temporary or occasional. Our local has around 160 members, both blue and white collar workers. We provide important services for the functioning of the city such as snow removal, pavement and sidewalk maintenance, sewage maintenance, water treatment, office work, etc.

We are fighting outsourcing because it poses a threat to our jobs. As well, work done through subcontracting is often more expensive and of a poorer quality than work done internally. We succeeded in having it written into our collective agreement that the city cannot outsource work that will result in the layoff of permanent workers. However, we have many temporary employees who are not protected in the same way by the collective agreement. They can be laid off. Permanent workers are protected. However, were everything to be outsourced, then when we negotiate our collective agreement and no longer have any temporary and occasional workers, huge pressure will be exerted on the membership, as the city will say that there is no longer any work for them. This pressure on municipal employees is constant, in Alma as well as all across Quebec.

We are also fighting to ensure that control over our public services is not handed over to conglomerates of big international firms through negotiations between countries, such as through free trade agreements. For example, large private international companies covet water treatment plants. If they cannot directly get their hands on our public services, they can apply for compensation on the basis of not being able to bid on the service. This is of great concern to us and constant pressure has to be placed on governments to prevent them from handing over our public services to such companies. Our main unions must seize every opportunity to protect our public services. What we are dealing with here is outsourcing at the international level.

Both our public services as well as keeping them in-house must be defended. Big corporations want to generate profits from our public services. What we do is deliver a service to the population, not make profits with it.

(Chantier politique, September 24, 2018)

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Stop the Cuts, Invest in Health Care and Improve Working Conditions to Keep and Attract Personnel

We're faced with a complex organizational problem in the health care system because it affects all job classifications, not only the nursing staff. Cuts have resulted in not only a shortage of nurses, but a shortage in all job categories [the job categories are nursing, trades and paratechnical, office and professional staff]. Nurses are being forced to do tasks that are not part of the nursing component. For example, if an administrative agent is not replaced, nurses end up answering the telephone, organizing appointments, etc. This creates a problem of not being able to retain staff in nursing as well as in other types of jobs. More and more mobility is being demanded of personnel and the quality of employment is being eroded to such an extent that our nurses are being asked to change their shifts with only two days' notice, making life impossible, in particular for mothers with children. If we want to attract people to the health care system, the jobs being offered must be interesting and have good conditions.

The reform [restructuring of health care imposed through Bill 10] has eliminated almost all decision-making at the local level. Essentially, decisions are being taken at the ministerial level. Things are being decided outside the workplace environment. It's a form of management that complicates our lives. The reform has created mega-structures, with demands from health centre managers that are the same across Quebec. We think this is being coordinated at the ministerial level. People on the North Shore are being asked to travel long distances. In Montreal and other big centres, the distances are smaller and travel less complicated, but the directive is the same. It's a decision-making process that does not recognize the specificity of the facilities involved. Workers are being asked to make concessions in many spheres including mobility, and swing shift teams.

At present, the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN) is waging a "15 Ways to Improve the Health and Social Services System" campaign in conjunction with organizations representing patients, doctors and managers. During the election campaign, we are emphasizing that the health care network is suffocating as a result of the cuts and major organizational changes that have been carried out.

We are fighting to end the cuts, for investments in health care and an end to the deterioration of our working conditions, otherwise we will lose more and more of our workforce.

(Chantier politique, September 20, 2018. Photo: FSSS-CSN)

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Support Outaouais Nurses, Auxiliary Nurses
and Respiratory Therapists 

We, citizens of the Outaouais, support the demands of the the nurses, auxiliary nurses and respiratory therapists, members of the Outaouais health care professionals union (FIQ) and ask President and Director General [of the Centre for Integrated Health and Social Services in the Outaouais -- CISSSO] Mr. Jean Hébert and his executive committee to pursue local bargaining in order to offer them decent and humane working conditions.

- To prevent the exodus of nurses, auxiliary nurses and respiratory therapists to Ontario or their region of origin;

- To maintain the ability to provide quality care in a safe environment in the Outaouais;

- To attract a maximum number of employees from other regions;

- To avoid aggravating the shortage of health care professionals;

- To avoid an increase in the exhaustion levels of health care professionals; and

- To avoid having nurses, auxiliary nurses and respiratory therapist abandon their professions.

(To sign the petition, click here.)

(Chantier politique, September 21, 2018. Photo: FIQ-SPSO)


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