June 10, 2023

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Mass resignations within the Quebec Writers Union

UNEQ President Suzanne Aubrey and its General Manager Laurent Dubois, to declare their Departs two days after a chaotic public meeting Any union members want He refused to donate to him. The entire board of directors tendered their resignation.

“By rejecting this resolution, members are demonstrating their rejection of the strategic vision of UNEQ’s board of directors,” one said in a press release sent Friday after 36 hours of radio silence.

UNEQ intends to levy a contribution of 2.5% of the income of its members and 5% of non-member teachers. Following a plenary session marked by lengthy debates, members rejected the proposal Almost 56%. They have given 40% support. Less than 4% of the 443 people contacted during the poll did not vote.

However, the outgoing president, writer Suzanne Aubrey, reiterated Friday that she still believes the editors’ union is necessary to get better conditions from publishers. “Members of the Board of Directors strongly believe in the absolute necessity of jointly negotiating minimum conditions for literary artists. It will be the new group of elected officials who will make another proposal to achieve this long-awaited goal for decades,” he said.

His resignation, like that of six other members of the board of directors, will be effective from May 31. Director General Laurent Dubois, who was heavily criticized during the debate over contributions, will leave his post on this date.

A never ending story

Since the adoption of a new law on artist status last year, UNEQ has been empowered to levy union dues on teachers’ income. Above all, through this sweeping reform, it received a mandate to represent all teachers in Quebec, members and non-members, until 2025. Previously, authors negotiated the contract separately with their publisher.

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Negotiations have already begun with two major publishers’ associations: the National Association of Book Publishers (ANEL) and the Sokites Group (Quebecor). UNEQ said additional income is needed to carry out these talks, hence the willingness to set up contributions.

To replenish its coffers, UNEQ has also chosen to sell its historic headquarters, the Maison des √©crivains, near Saint-Louis Square, in Montreal. Another controversial decision, but approved at an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday. Syndicate gives 18 months to sell the house to a new buyer who is committed to sustaining the house’s literary business. At the end of this moratorium, if no literary project occupies the premises, the ancestral building will be put up for sale in the market.

However, the narrow majority of 14 votes to sell the house was questioned by some as the vote was marred by several technical issues.

UNEQ, which today has 1,800 members, has been under challenge for months by several teachers, accusing it, among other things, of its amateurism. Note that the decision to impose dues on all teachers in Quebec was initially approved following a public meeting attended by only 46 people. UNEQ eventually reversed its decision by organizing a new general meeting, but, on merits, its position on contributions remained the same.

Now that the UNEQ proposal has been rejected by its members and its entire board of directors has resigned, is the union still legitimate to represent all teachers in Quebec in the eyes of the Minister of Culture? Mathieu Lacombe declined to comment Friday. “I note UNEQ’s decision, which crosses the turbulence zone,” he simply noted by email.

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However, the minister is expected to meet the leaders of UNEQ in the coming days to review the situation. “We’ll have an opportunity to see if we can provide them with any support,” Matthew Lacombe said.

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