Are Montreal parents paying the price for daycare strike?
Picketing daycare workers holding noisemakers and flags have become a common sight at some public daycares in Montreal and Laval.
Unionized staff voted in favour of a general unlimited strike last May, affecting about 3,000 kids and their parents.
“They have had a measurable amount of disappointment, stress, anxiety, having to find ways to cope with this,” said Victoria Camerota, who has two daughters in public daycare.
Some parents insist they have had to make alternate arrangements for childcare — including leaving kids with strangers.
“So far, there are three people that have said that they were on probation and they have lost their jobs since the strike,” Camerota said.
She argued others claim to have had their work hours cut.
“One woman called me, saying she won’t be able to make her mortgage payment this month,” she said.
“It’s a really, really sad issue.”
While Camerota insisted she supports the strike, she believes it’s gone on long enough and says she is losing patience with the workers.
“I understand their frustration, and we’re with them wholeheartedly,” she told Global News.
“But not at the cost of our detriment, you know?”
The union representing the daycare workers said it sympathizes with parents, but it can’t afford to back down now.
“I understand, but they have to understand also our position,” said union negotiator Tania Valdez.
“When you have a collective agreement and you’re trying to negotiate, you’re not supposed to get less than what you had before.”
Camerota said she doubts the strike will end anytime soon and says the government needs to intervene.
She wants the province to make early childhood education an essential service.
“It’s not completely taking away the strike,” she said.
“It’s passing a law that only a percentage of the educators would be allowed to strike at the same time.”
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