Accueil » 57-2 ( 2002) » L’émergence des associations parallèles dans les rapports collectifs de travail

L’émergence des associations parallèles dans les rapports collectifs de travail

Christian Brunelle

Résumé

Des jeunes salariés québécois reprochent à leurs syndicats de ne pas tenir suffisamment compte de leurs intérêts dans la négociation de leurs conditions de travail. Ils ont ainsi fondé leurs propres associations en réaction à la façon dont le syndicat exerce son monopole de représentation. Ce nouveau phénomène traduit une insatisfaction certaine face à la façon dont s’exerce la démocratie syndicale dans certains milieux de travail. L’émergence de ces associations parallèles devrait inciter les leaders syndicaux à faire montre de plus d’ouverture, à engager le dialogue et à entreprendre une réflexion devenue nécessaire sur leur conception de la démocratie — et la notion d’égalité qui y est sous-jacente — à l’ère des droits fondamentaux de la personne.

Abstract

The Emergence of Special Interest Associations in Collective Labour Relations

One of the fundamental features of the legal regime of collective labour relations in North America lies in bestowing, by law, a monopoly of exclusive representation upon the trade union that wins the endorsement of the majority of employees.

An analogy between this type of organization and our system of representative democracy has often been made in that the people’s representatives are also elected by majority rule. However, unlike parliamentary democracy, which formally allows for a margin of dissent to be expressed by representatives of the Opposition, the organization of collective labour relations fails to provide a similar forum to voice minority interests.

Neglected by legislators, trade union dissent has traditionally only been able to express itself in the private circles of the trade union apparatus. However, a new phenomenon is slowly emerging in Quebec. Reacting against the wage concessions accepted by their trade unions in the wake of the government’s battle against budget deficits, young teachers, young police officers and young civil servants have established their own associations: the Association pour la défense des jeunes enseignants du Québec (ADJEQ), the Groupe d’action pour l’équité et l’égalité salariale du SPCUM (GAPES) and the Association des jeunes de la fonction publique du Québec (AJFP). These associations are using public forums, such as parliamentary commissions, to voice their demands. Furthermore, their web sites allow minority employees to express their discontent and grievances anonymously.

These new groups reflect clearly the growing complexity of labour relations in our pluralist societies and the inherent difficulties of trying to reconcile collective rights and individual rights. In their own way, those associations are also expressing real dissatisfaction with the way trade union democracy is carried out in some work environments.

The new associations may possibly be the result of a transient trend linked solely to the issue of the so-called “orphan” clauses, but the trade union movement would be ill-advised to disregard them. Rather, their emergence should incite trade union leaders to display greater openness, to begin dialogue and, more generally, to think about their conception of democracy and the underlying notion of equality, for such an approach has become necessary in the age of fundamental individual rights.

Resumen

La surgimiento de asociaciones paralelas en las relaciones colectivas de trabajo

Ciertos jovenes asalariados quebequenses reprochan a sus sindicatos de no tener suficientemente en cuenta sus respectivos intereses en la negociación de sus condiciones de trabajo. Por ello han fundado sus propias asociaciones en reacción a la manera como el sindicato ejerce su monopolio de representación. Este nuevo fenomeno traduce una clara insatisfacción frente a la manera como se ejerce la democracia sindical en ciertos medios de trabajo. La emergencia de estas asociaciones paralelas debería incitar los lideres sindicales a mostrar mas apertura, a entablar el dialogo y emprender una reflexión imperiosa sobre la concepción de la democracia – incluyendo la noción de igualdad que le es subyacente – en la era de los derechos fundamentales de la persona.