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Montreal union accepts, Laval rejects as more FAE teachers vote on new contract

For the agreement in principle to be adopted, five of the nine FAE-affiliated unions must accept it. Those five unions must also make up the majority of the FAE's 66,500 members, according to the principle of a double majority.  (Francis Ferland/CBC - image credit)
For the agreement in principle to be adopted, five of the nine FAE-affiliated unions must accept it. Those five unions must also make up the majority of the FAE's 66,500 members, according to the principle of a double majority. (Francis Ferland/CBC - image credit)

Three out of the nine teachers' unions that make up the Fédération autonome de l'enseignement (FAE) have voted on the new contract deal with the Quebec government, and so far, the results are showing some division.

Two unions have accepted the deal while a first voted against it.

For the agreement in principle to be adopted, five of the nine FAE-affiliated unions must accept it. Those five unions must also make up the majority of the FAE's 66,500 members, according to the principle of a double majority.

The final decision will be announced on Feb. 7.

On Thursday night, the Syndicat de l'enseignement de la région de Laval (SERL), which represents more than 6,300 teachers, voted 68 per cent against the agreement in principle, following their union's suggestion to do so. 

In Montreal, the Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal, which represents around 10,000 members, squeaked out a favourable vote for the deal by 52 per cent, "even if it does not meet all the urgent needs of Montreal public schools," the union said in a release.

Just over 3,000 members stayed overnight until early Friday morning to vote.

"Teachers still believe that they and their students deserve better," wrote union president Catherine Beauvais-St-Pierre.

Earlier this week, the Syndicat de l'enseignement de la Pointe-de-l'Île (SEPÎ), which represents some 4,400 teachers in Montreal's east end, also voted 58.5 per cent in favour of the proposed collective agreement, going against their union leaders' recommendation to reject it.

The six remaining unions are expected to vote in the coming days.

The leaders of the Syndicat des enseignants de la Haute-Yamaska (SEHY) in Granby, which represents 2,000 members and the Syndicat de l'enseignement des Basses-Laurentides (SEBL) with 5,200 members have encouraged their members to vote against the deal.

Meanwhile, two other FAE-affiliated unions, the Syndicat de l'enseignement de l'Outaouais and the Syndicat de l'enseignement de l'ouest de Montréal (SEOM), have advised their members to accept the agreement.

The agreement in principle came after 22 days of strike action, which closed about 800 schools and kept 368,000 students home. Some 40 per cent of teachers in the province's school system are represented by the FAE.