Two large union groups in Quebec have reached tentative agreements with the government, potentially ending massive public sector strikes. This could be a major victory for workers and inspire further action across the province and beyond.
Professor Barry Eidlin highlights the significance of these strikes, calling them part of a broader trend of worker activism against declining standards, inequality, and job insecurity. He believes successful settlements could embolden other unions to fight for better conditions.
Challenges remain, with union members yet to vote on the deals and a large nurses’ union still in negotiations. Eidlin acknowledges the possibility of rejection due to high expectations, but expresses doubt unions would accept anything significantly weaker than initial demands.
Public support for the strikers was crucial, especially among parents most affected by school closures. This, combined with the strike’s scale, sent a strong message to the government to take worker concerns seriously.
The potential for “contagion” is high. Eidlin emphasizes that these strikes will likely have lasting effects on future negotiations, both within and outside the public sector, even outside Quebec.