In recent years, and more so since the beginning of the public health crisis, the working world as well as union mobilization have drastically changed. The evolution of activism, an important topic for the CSQ, is the focus of its 43rd Congress, which will also address the new challenges of mobilizing members.

One of the goals of this event is to continue focusing on what motivates members and identify individual incentives to stimulate local enthusiasm.

Activism in all its forms

The Centrale wants more members to get involved, and not just by taking part in face-to-face events. Today, union participation takes several forms, all equally encouraged: virtual presence, establishment of a joint committee, creation of a Facebook group to defend working conditions and attest to numerous diverse realities, etc.

Renewed mobilization during the crisis

COVID-19 significantly changed the world of work; Quebec’s education and higher education sectors are key examples.

Distance learning has brought about diverse teaching tools and methods, simultaneously altering student ratios and increasing connectivity. These conditions make it difficult to feel satisfied at the end of the school day or to even hope that the learning goals have been achieved.

Suddenly, believing that it was nearly impossible to weather the storm and uphold distance learning in the manner in which it was imposed on them, everyone began to withdraw. Many members mobilized anew in their environment to demand that working conditions be protected.

Individual awareness turned into collective mindfulness at the local level. The abrupt stirring up of long-time traditions generated mobilization.

Certain labour relation committees have been re-energized within the federations and the Centrale, thanks to the strength of collective power combined with union action.

Ultimately, the pandemic did not cause the feared collapse of the collective. Rather, the public health crisis and its consequences on workplaces gave rise to different communication tools, making it possible to increase participation, either virtually or through renewed individual mobilization.

Members actively involved for the first time

Today’s technologies made it possible to hold virtual assemblies. Members who were less present before the public health crisis were now able to participate. This enabled the involvement of certain groups who could not attend traditional union meetings.

These once under-represented members included those in precarious, part-time or temporary jobs, women, youth and members between the ages of 30 and 45. However, these people represent a large percentage of CSQ members and they deserve better working conditions. These individuals—whom the Centrale struggled to reach before—are now active in union mobilization.

In conclusion, the pandemic has had the positive outcome of reneweing activism. People who are at risk or whose children are at risk, need answers. The clear and structured message is backed by union leaders. People now understand that the union is not just a monthly membership fee. It’s more than that, regardless of which union you belong to.