Common Front Strikes

The Common Front Strikes were a cartel of Québec public- and para-public-sector trade unions formed in 1972 to negotiate with the provincial government. The cartel consisted primarily of unions affiliated to 3 UNION CENTRALS - the CNTU (CONFEDERATION OF NATIONAL TRADE UNIONS), the QFL (Québec Federation of Labour) and the QTC (Québec Teachers Corp) - plus some independent unions.

The first Common Front was created during a round of bargaining in 1972. It united more than 210 000 employees, almost all of them working in government, in education and in social services (hospitals, etc). This round gave rise to several major events, including a 10-day general strike (April 11-21), which was ended with special legislation, a series of injunctions and the imprisonment of presidents of the 3 union centrals (Louis LABERGE, QFL; Marcel PÉPIN, CNTU; Yvon CHARBONNEAU, QTC) for having urged their members to defy the order to return to work. This round also saw the split in the CNTU which led to the creation of the CDTU (Central of Democratic Trade Unions).

Similar common fronts were established during negotiations in 1976, 1979 and 1982. Each was marked by major clashes (strikes, injunctions and special laws).