Discontent intensifies among teachers: more and more teachers denounce the democratic process of the FAE

Discontent is intensifying among the teachers of the Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE), more and more of whom are criticizing the democratic process in place while the fate of the agreement in principle will be sealed tomorrow evening, by a single union.

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So far, members of four unions affiliated with the FAE have rejected the agreement in principle, while those of four others have instead approved it, sometimes after extremely close votes which took place on the spot, after very long hours of discussions (see details below).

Result: while the FAE brings together nine local unions representing 66,500 members, it is the approximately 3,000 teachers in the Granby region who will have the last word when they will vote on January 31 on this agreement, concluded at the end of December with Quebec after more than 20 days of strike.

Vote with your mind at rest

The pressure will therefore be very strong on the shoulders of these teachers who will have to decide on the spot, at the end of the evening, after the details of the agreement have just been explained to them, a way of doing things denounced by many.

“It does not make sense. We have reached a time where we are able to do this in two stages, hold an information meeting and then leave more time to vote,” says Marisa Thibault, primary school teacher in Montreal.

  • Marc Ranger, former Quebec director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, simply can’t believe it! Listen to his interview on Alexandre Dubé’s show via QUB radio :

Like the other members of the Montreal Teachers’ Alliance, this union delegate had to vote a little before 2 a.m. on January 19, after more than eight hours of discussions during a virtual general assembly which sparked a lot of discontent.

Several teachers are watching with interest the voting process on the side of certain teaching unions affiliated with the Common Front, where the vote sometimes took place the day after an information evening, or even over a period of two days following this meeting, which made it possible to make a decision with a clear head, it is argued.

Simultaneous voting

The holding of a simultaneous vote is also demanded by teachers, in order to prevent the first to vote from influencing those who will vote subsequently.

Last Thursday, when two unions affiliated with the FAE brought their members together for a general meeting, teachers in Quebec learned that those in Vaudreuil had rejected the agreement before voting themselves a few minutes later.

“With delayed votes, there is sure to be an influence. In the age of social networks, we quickly know what is happening elsewhere,” says Sylvain Dancause, a teacher from the Quebec region who co-signed an open letter last week with colleagues in which they demand change in organizations unions.

One teacher, one vote

Teachers, who contacted The Journal over the last few days, also believe that the agreement should be ratified according to a form of proportional voting so that each vote counts to obtain the required majority.

“Many of us are asking ourselves the question, why isn’t it one teacher, one vote?” says Simon Landry, a teacher from the Montreal region.

According to the FAE statutes, an agreement in principle must be ratified by a double majority, that is to say by a majority of the affiliated unions as well as by a majority of the 66,500 members it represents.

However, the majority of members is counted according to the “mandates” allocated to each affiliated union according to the number of teachers it represents, without taking into account the percentage of votes cast.

  • Listen to Joseph Facal’s column via QUB :

Thus, even if 51% of teachers from the Western Montreal Education Union voted for the agreement, 100% of the mandates assigned to it are counted in favor of the agreement.

The agreement in principle has already received the green light from a majority of members, according to the mandates assigned to the affiliated unions, whereas it would rather receive a majority of votes against if the members’ verdict were calculated proportionally.

This way of doing things was adopted in order to “reflect the vote of the smallest unions”, indicates the Autonomous Federation of Education in a written declaration.

The organization does not, however, close the door to modifications to its statutes and regulations, which could possibly be “revised” since they are “evolving”.

The proposals would then be debated and put to a vote in the various FAE bodies, it is explained.

“Legitimate” concerns

The concerns expressed by these teachers, which are echoed in several comments on social networks, are entirely “legitimate”, according to Thomas Collombat, political scientist at the University of Quebec in Outaouais and specialist in the union movement.

Several union organizations have also changed their way of doing things in recent years, he indicates.

Mr. Collombat, however, underlines that “no system is perfect” and that union democracy operates according to a vision based on the “collective” rather than on “the addition of individual votes”.

It is also impossible to “change the rules along the way,” he adds.

Very close votes

The nine unions affiliated with the Autonomous Education Federation began to vote on the agreement in principle on January 17. The final vote is scheduled for tomorrow evening.

Here are the results so far.


Pointe-de-l’Île Education Union

  • CSS de la Pointe-de-l’Île
  • 5300 members
  • Result : for at 59% (January 17)

Alliance of Montreal Teachers

  • Montreal CSS
  • 14,000 members
  • Result : for at 54% (January 18)

Outaouais Education Union

  • CSS des Portages-de-l’Outaouais, des Draveurs and Cœur-des-Vallées
  • 6600 members
  • Result : for at 58% (January 22)

West Montreal Teachers Union

  • CSS Marguerite-Bourgeoys
  • 8000 members
  • Result : for at 51% (January 24)

Laval region education union

  • Laval CSS
  • 8000 members
  • Result : against 68% (January 18)

Basses-Laurentides Education Union

  • Thousand Islands CSS
  • 7900 members
  • Result : against 72% (January 24)

Lordships Education Union

  • CSS des Trois-Lacs
  • 900 members
  • Result : against 58% (January 25)

Quebec Region Education Union

  • CSS of the Capital and the First Lordships
  • 9000 members
  • Result : against 60% (January 25)

Haute-Yamaska ​​Education Union

  • CSS Val-des-Cerfs
  • 3000 members
  • General meeting scheduled for tomorrow

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