Quebec Non-Public Funds strikers return to work

After more than 170 days on strike, the Non-Public Funds (NPF) staff of the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services at CFBs Bagotville, Saint-Jean and Valcartier will return to work on July 8. 

This weekend, the bargaining team representing NPF staff concluded that negotiations had reached an impasse. After much soul-searching, the team decided to resubmit and recommend the employer’s latest offer to members, who voted to accept it. The bargaining team firmly believes that this was the only way to maintain dignity and provide relief to the already vulnerable strikers. 

“The employer’s silence confirms its unwillingness to address the discrimination faced by our Quebec members, who are the worst paid in Canada,” noted Yvon Barrière, PSAC-Quebec Executive Vice-President. “The power dynamic has never been fair in this conflict. Our members held strong while facing a ruthless employer. The right to protest was obstructed. The climate of trust needed to return to work is now shattered. Unfortunately, the wounds will be deep and slow to heal.” 

Throughout the strike, the employer regularly used intimidation tactics. Scabs, military personnel, and workers from other bases were used to replace strikers. They resorted to unfair tactics, including filing an injunction to deny members the ability to protest and picket peacefully near the bases. 

Additionally, military police were ordered to intimidate strikers on the bases by pushing them back and ticketing them. Trailers, generators and sanitary units were either damaged, moved and even impounded by the employer. Picket captains were watched and followed by military police.  

On the Saint-Jean military base, the municipal police, after several weeks of threats, started issuing tickets under a municipal by-law on nuisance, thereby trampling on our members’ right to protest. 

“I’m proud of our bargaining team and the hard work they accomplished to end the strike in Quebec,” said June Winger, National President of the Union of National Defence Employees. “This is not the end, however. We have a long fight ahead with an employer who has shown that they do not care about their workers. UNDE does, and we won’t stop until NPF members are part of the core public service, receive a fair salary and get adequate health benefits,”  

“This isn’t over yet. We still have many avenues to explore, and let’s remember that a new round of bargaining will begin shortly. For now, I want to congratulate all the strikers for their determination. We might be putting one battle behind us, but we have not finished this fight to get our members the recognition they deserve. This employer needs to put its ego aside and focus on the primary mission: the morale and welfare of Canadian Forces military and civilian personnel,” concluded Barrière. 

A decree was implemented in 1982 allowing the government to treat NPF members like second-class public service workers. In Quebec, most NPF employees are women, and their working conditions have consistently been inferior to those doing the same work in different parts of the country. 

Striking members just want what their counterparts throughout Canada have been granted. They also want all NPF personnel to be fully recognized as federal public service workers. 



June 25, 2024